Rediff India Abroad
 Rediff India Abroad Home  |  All the sections


The Web

India Abroad

Sign up today!

Article Tools
Email this article
Top emailed links
Print this article
Contact the editors
Discuss this article
Home > News > PTI

Nuke plans came from Pakistan: Libya

January 04, 2004 18:06 IST

Libya bought plans to make a nuclear bomb from Pakistani scientists for "millions of pounds", Saif al-Isalm Gadaffi, son of Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gadaffi, has admitted.

In an interview published in The Sunday Times Saif, 32, said his country had spent $40 million to acquire nuclear capability.

Some of the "five-star Libyan scientists" working on the bomb had trained in Britain, he claimed.

He confirmed that Libya had bought nuclear components, including centrifuges, from the black market. Some of the material came from Malaysia and various Asian countries, he said. Other components had been bought on the black market in South Africa.

"We dealt with an underground network of middlemen and secret workshops," he said. "This piece from here, that piece from there."

According to the report, revelations of the extent of Pakistani involvement will certainly increase American and British pressure on Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, who is already accused of failing to prevent the illicit sale of nuclear material to Iran.

Pakistan admitted last week that "rogue scientists" might have peddled technology for "individual gain". It said several had been questioned, among them Abdul Qadeer Khan, regarded as the "father" of the country's nuclear bomb.

British and American experts who went to inspect Libyan weapons sites were taken aback when they found that nuclear scientists working for Gadaffi had what one western official described as a "full bomb dossier" from the Pakistanis.

Western officials said that the Pakistani scientists could have received from Libya as much as $100 million over several years, starting in the late 1990s.

They appeared to have been working on their own, without the knowledge of the authorities in Islamabad, the report said.

About Libya's decision to abandon its nuclear plans, Saif said he had worked as a "trouble shooter" in talks that alternated between London and Tripoli. "I was able to take messages to my father and explain to him. By the end we had a good relationship with the CIA, MI6 and all the Americans and British," he said.

His father needed reassurance, though, that they were not secretly pushing for "regime change".

"Once they assured us that they did not, everything went forward."

Saif said he now expected Libya to open up, with leading defence manufacturer BAE Systems and British Petroleum coming to the country for "big deals".

The report quoted a senior Arab source saying that some of the components for the Libyan nuclear programme were bought in Dubai and shipped to Libya. Dubai has hitherto been thought of as a transit point for illicit goods from Iran and other countries. This is the first time it has been accused of selling nuclear components, the report said.

More reports from Pakistan
Read about: Indo-Pak Peace Talk | Coup in Pakistan

© Copyright 2005 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
Share your comments

 What do you think about the story?

Read what others have to say:

Number of User Comments: 3

Sub: be realistic

if Pakistan is the root then britain and other countries are the flourisher. Libya catered for centrifuges and sthe scientists befoe the pakistan deal so ...

Posted by Muhammad Raza ur Rehman

Sub: Pak involved in spreading nukes.

If all these repoerts are true Pak is much bigger threat to the world than any al quaida or Saddam. That's waht the american journalists ...

Posted by Madhav

Sub: Implications are very serious

Pakistan's role in supplying nuclear technology and materials to Libya has been known for a couple of years now. Unfortunately, Bush administration has not understood ...

Posted by T S Raman, Ph.D.



Copyright 2005 India Limited. All Rights Reserved.