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'Pak. frustrated probe into its n-technology offer to Iraq'

'Pak. frustrated probe into its n-technology offer to Iraq'

Author: PTI
Publication: The Hindu
Date: December 23, 2002
URL: http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/2002/12/23/stories/2002122302451400.htm

Pakistan had deflected and frustrated a U.N. probe into an offer made by Islamabad to Iraq of nuclear weapons know-how, allegedly made in the 1990s on behalf of Abdul Qadeer Khan, father of Pakistan's atomic bomb, former U.N. weapons inspectors were today quoted as saying.

The offer is contained in Iraqi secret service documents.

With help from the Bush Administration which does not want public attention focused on it, Pakistan has also been able to play down the nuclear weapons know-how it had actually provided to N. Korea in return for the Ghauri missile and know-how to build medium range missiles in Pakistan itself, The Washington Times reported.

A middleman claiming to present Khan ``offered Iraq help in building an atomic bomb on the eve of the Persian Gulf War, according to UN documents, diplomats and former weapons inspectors,'' the daily said.

Former inspectors, who spoke to the paper on condition of anonymity, said Pakistani officials did not cooperate when the U.N. nuclear agency tried in the mid-1990s to investigate if the scientist was behind the proposal.

The former inspectors stopped short of saying that Pakistan Government was involved in the offer to help Iran build a nuclear weapon.

The revelation follows recent news reports that Pakistan assisted North Korea's nuclear programme in return for missiles and missile technology.

Pakistan has denied any link to Pyongyang or Baghdad. The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, Chritina Rocca, last week said the Pakistani President, Pervez Musharraf, has given his assurance that nothing is being given to North Korea. This formulation, analysts noted, did not cover what was done in the past.

The U.N. officials told the daily that Iraq did not accept the offer from Pakistan and did not mention it in its latest arms declaration. The offer also is not mentioned in a previous declaration that Iraq made in 1996.

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