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January 30, 2002
2030 IST

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Pakistan scientists with Al Qaeda
links to go free

T V Parasuram in Washington

Pakistan has decided not to prosecute its two nuclear scientists, Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood and Abdul Majid, accused of trying help Osama bin Laden obtain nuclear weapons, a report said on Wednesday.

Officials and a lawyer involved in the case told the Washington Post that although Pakistani authorities had concluded that the scientists violated the oath of secrecy during trips into the Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, the government had decided that they did not give any information necessary to build a bomb.

A trial, the officials said, would generate further international embarrassment and risk disclosure of Pakistan's nuclear secrets.

"So far, everything that relates to our nuclear programme is a state secret. By talking to Osama and his folks in Afghanistan, the two scientists broke the oath of secrecy. Yet, we were forced to ignore their action in the interest of the nation, a senior official said.

The scientists, the officials said, will remain under government control as part of a deal worked out for their release from detention. They are currently living in a safe house in Islamabad.

Mahmood's family, which went to court seeking his release, agreed to the arrangement and on Monday withdrew a legal complaint filed in Lahore, the family's hometown.

America's War on Terror: The Complete Coverage
The Attack on US Cities: The Complete Coverage

The Terrorism Weblog: Latest Stories from Around the World

External Link:
For further coverage, please visit www.saja.org/roundupsept11.html

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