Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back
Pakistani scientist 'offered Saddam nuclear designs'

Pakistani scientist 'offered Saddam nuclear designs'

Author: James Bone
Publication: The Times, London
Date: December 20, 2002

A Pakistani scientist approached Iraq soon after the 1990 invasion of Kuwait to offer nuclear weapon designs and help in procuring bomb components, according to a document found by United Nations weapons inspectors.

The revelation, which provoked an inconclusive inquiry by inspectors, has raised new concerns about Pakistan's role in the proliferation of nuclear technology. It follows allegations that Pakistan helped North Korea to develop a nuclear bomb and that Pakistani nuclear scientists met Osama bin Laden and the Taleban leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, in Afghanistan.

The offer by the Pakistani scientist, found in Iraqi archives, was made in October 1990 as a US-led coalition prepared to repel the August invasion of Kuwait. Iraq had already embarked on a crash programme to develop a nuclear bomb, but told the UN it had not pursued the scientist's offer - a claim UN investigators are inclined to believe. The document revealing the contact between the scientist and Iraq is referred to twice in the Iraqi declaration of its nuclear capability, which The Times has obtained.

The file first came to the attention of UN weapons inspectors after the 1995 defection of President Saddam Hussein's son-in-law, General Hussein Kamel, who was in charge of Iraq's secret weapons programmes. After he defected to Jordan, Iraqi officials led UN inspectors to a cache of 1.5 million pages of documents hidden in packing crates at General Kamel's chicken farm in Iraq, the Haider House Farm, in an apparent effort to get rid of incriminating evidence that they assumed he would provide to Western intelligence.

Among them was a file of correspondence between Iraq's Mukhabarat secret service and Department 3000 of the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC), a secret Iraqi nuclear programme that was codenamed Petro-Chemical 3.

"Included was a few pages relating to an approach made by a foreign national who offered assistance, for financial reward, in nuclear weapon design and in the procurement of material that may be required," Iraq's declaration says. "The Iraqi team pointed out to the International Atomic Energy Agency Action Team (IAEA AT) that no external assistance was received by the former Iraqi nuclear programme, other than that already declared to the (team) and is documented."

A source familiar with the case said that the document identified the scientist as a Pakistani. The handwritten paper seems to be a record of a meeting between him and an Iraqi contact. "He made the unsolicited offer to a contact of the Mukhabarat procurement network and there was a communication between the Mukhabarat and Department 3000, where IAEC procurement was handled," the source said.

The document triggered an investigation by UN nuclear inspectors, who approached Pakistan. Islamabad told them it could not identify the scientist, but some UN Security Council diplomats suspect that Pakistan does know who it is. Inspectors thought that the matter was important enough to brief the five permanent members of the Security Council - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - on their 1997 inquiry. Evidence of contact between a Pakistani scientist and Iraq will only fuel fears that Pakistan is willing to share its technology with so-called "rogue nations". The US suspects Pakistan of having supplied North Korea with gas centrifuge technology to make weapons-grade uranium for its nuclear bomb in 1997/98.

Back                          Top

«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements