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A Q Khan stole colleague's work: Report

Source: PTI
March 08, 2004 15:49 IST
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An official American web site has for years displayed the entire process of enriching uranium to 100 per cent purity, and interestingly, the patent for it was issued to a Pakistani nuclear scientist who claims that Abdul Qadeer Khan stole it to make nuclear bombs, according to reports.

Pakistan's Nuclear Bazaar

Mohammad Quader Hussain got the patent in 1995 after having submitted the process to the US Patent Office first in 1982, the South Asia Tribune said. The Pakistan government had earlier refused to grant him a patent, it added.

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Yours sincerely, Dr A Q Khan

Hussain was quoted as telling the New York Times earlier that his 'liquid centrifuge process' worked and that "in 1980 a colleague (in the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission) told him that A Q Khan, the (then) director of Pakistan Uranium Enrichment Centre, was using his liquid centrifuge process".

The US government issued Patent No 5417944 in May 1995 and put it up for public display, like all other patents, on the official site of US Patents and Trade Marks Office.

The report quotes one of Hussain's colleagues as saying that Khan had entered PAEC in mid-1970s when he was working on the liquid centrifuge process. Hussain was soon fired from PAEC for complaining that Khan had "stolen his entire work".

Out of job and PAEC, Hussain started teaching in Karachi and applied for the patent in Pakistan in 1978 and in the US in 1982. Nothing happened in the US and he renewed his application in 1987, on which he was later granted the patent.

The report said whether Khan "stole" Hussain's process or from Holland, "Pakistan finally did succeed in enriching uranium to the levels to make several nuclear bombs. The enrichment process was completed, as all accounts show, in the late 1980s and early 1990s".

"What is important is that Pakistan had all these processes to work with and the US and all others knew about them and did very little to stop the spread of the technology," the South Asia Tribune said.

Meanwhile, a noted writer on terrorism, Bernard-Henri Levy, has in an article pointed towards Khan's alleged links with the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Al Qaeda and the "nightmarish" possibility of these terrorist outfits gaining access to the nuclear technology.

"Next month, the American Congress will vote on the question of three billion dollars in aid to Pakistan; Will these aspect of things be taken into account? Will demands be made, at last, in exchange for this aid, for inspections of Pakistani sites, as well as installation of a double-key system that some of us here in Europe have been calling for," Levy, the writer of the authoritative book Who Killed Daniel Pearl asked.

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