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Pakistan does not want to be responsible: US lawmaker

By Lalit K Jha in Washington
February 14, 2009 00:15 IST
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Condemning the release of disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist A Q Khan from house arrest, an influential United States lawmaker has introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives, which termed Islamabad's behaviour as 'incompatible'.

"This is a blow to justice and international security," said Republican Congressman Ed Royce, who introduced the resolution in the House of Representative on Thursday.

Royce is Ranking Member of the Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade Subcommittee in the House. "Pakistan's mishandling of the Khan case should be a guiding element in the determination of US policy toward that country, including bilateral assistance," the legislation says.

The legislation condemns Khan's release and declares the nuclear scientist to be a continuing proliferation threat who should be required to give a full accounting of his activities to outsiders. It also declares Pakistan's behavior as 'incompatible', with its status as a 'major non-NATO ally' of the US.

"With this move, Pakistan is making it clear that it does not want to be a responsible actor. There is no reason to believe that the A Q Khan network has been put out of business. This cannot go unchallenged," he said.

The House should immediately consider this legislation, demonstrating to Islamabad the seriousness of the mistake they have made, Royce said. In 2004, Khan confessed to running an illicit nuclear proliferation network, supplying North Korea, Libya, Iran and possibly others with nuclear technologies and designs.

Pakistan has denied permission to US and International Atomic Energy Agency investigators to interview Khan to determine the true extent of his activities, Royce alleged.

"Khan belongs behind bars, not roaming Pakistan," concluded Royce, who in 2006, as Chair of the Subcommittee on International Terrorism and Nonproliferation, had held the hearing, "The AQ Khan Network: Case Closed?"

Khan, 72, who was put under house arrest in 2004 by then President Pervez Musharraf, was released by a Pakistani court last week.

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Lalit K Jha in Washington