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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 February, 2004, 11:37 GMT
Pakistani press defends nuclear scientist
Pakistani nuclear-capable missiles
Some papers ask how nuclear proliferation went undetected

Papers in Pakistan are united in their high opinion of top nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, following his televised admission of involvement in nuclear proliferation abroad.

Some papers feel that Dr Khan has fallen on his sword in order to defend Pakistan from foreign attempts to rid the country of its nuclear status.

Others express scepticism over how nuclear material was sent abroad without the knowledge of the authorities.

The US wants to end our nuclear status and we are making its job easier. Now if it puts forward allegations of our government's involvement in the proliferation of nukes, who then could stop it from attacking us?


The exaggerated statement presented by Western media regarding our nuclear programme and nuclear proliferation has unveiled the fact that the US, Europe, Israel and India intend to do away with our nuclear status.


We should not ignore the threats and pressure to roll back our nuclear capabilities. We are passing through a very critical time. Our rulers should take careful steps to steer the country out of the crisis.


There is no legal evidence to prove what really happened. The opinion of almost all Pakistanis has been summarised in a recent letter to the Pakistan News Service, which reads: "... Previous Pakistani regimes did not indulge in any nuclear weapons proliferation, but they did acquire and develop nuclear capability and missile technologies to defend Pakistan. Dr A. Q. Khan is merely taking the blame in order to protect the Pakistani nation from malicious propaganda of the anti-Pakistan media. Dr Khan, sir, I salute you."

Asim Mughal in Paknews.com

The admission by Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan should now close this painful chapter and the much revered scientist allowed to retire in peace and with dignity. This should strengthen the government's case of its ignorance of the unauthorised activities by some of its officials, but it does not quite clear up how the proliferation was undertaken undetected. This is the point that needs to be cleared up as Dr Khan's statement only admits half the fact.

The News

It is difficult to believe how anyone could claim that the transfer of nuclear technology and hardware was in the national interest. A Pandora's box has been opened. Dr Qadeer has done the nation great service, and deserves more than to be penalised for actions taken in good faith, no matter how mistaken. However, this does not mean that a microscopic examination of procedures and structures can be avoided, lest there is a repetition.

The Nation

The official position is becoming untenable in the eyes of the people who regard Dr Khan as a national hero. If the state of Pakistan was involved in proliferation, how can the scientists be isolated and made the scapegoat? No one believes that the scientists could have smuggled some heavy nuclear hardware abroad without the knowledge of the Pakistan army which has been in charge of the nuclear programme. The only way out of this crisis is to close the nuke scientists' file by accepting the mercy petition of the scientists.

Daily Times

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

The BBC's Paul Anderson
"It's one of the most serious crises Pakistan's president has had to deal with in four years of power"

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