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Foreign bank accounts of Pak nuclear scientists traced

January 27, 2004 08:56 IST

Foreign bank accounts of two senior Pakistani nuclear scientists, who allegedly received money for passing nuclear technology to Iran, have been traced even as the government ordered all ministries and departments not to invite Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of the country's atomic bomb, to any official function.

These accounts were being operated through a Dubai-based bank, which has already provided the required information to Pakistani authorities, Islamabad daily The News reported on Saturday quoting unnamed officials.

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"It is an open and shut case. Their foreign bank accounts swelled by millions of dollars as the sensitive information and some hardware reached Iran," one official said.

The government sources did not reveal the names of the scientists involved.

Iranian authorities have confirmed that the foreign bank accounts were being controlled by Pakistani nuclear scientists, the paper said adding the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the US government also had the full details of the financial transactions involved.

It was also discovered that one of the Dubai-based undercover companies used by Pakistan's premier nuclear installation, Khan Research Laboratories (KRL), to procure equipment worth hundreds of millions of dollars was being operated by a close relative of a top nuclear scientist.

Pakistani investigators have also unearthed that the same nuclear scientist held tens of millions of dollars worth of direct and indirect financial and real estate holdings in Pakistan and abroad, mostly in Dubai.

The newspaper said the government has instructed all ministries and departments not to invite Dr Khan to any official function. The decision to allow him to continue as an Adviser to the prime minister on scientific affairs would be taken by President Gen Pervez Musharraf who returned from Davos on Saturday after attending the World Economic Forum.

In view of the allegations against Dr Khan, the government has also put off its decision to decorate his wife with one of the highest civil awards of Pakistan.

Officials also questioned a newspaper editor in Islamabad for allegedly running a publicity campaign funded by the nuclear scientist. The campaign involved organising seminars, publishing books, posters and creating other publicity material lauding his services.

Pakistan officials also probed the scientist's relationship with a Dubai-based Pakistani bullion trader and some Karachi-based businessmen. "It is strange that the scientist was in touch with the

Dubai bullion trader on a daily basis," the official said. Pakistani officials interrogated the businessman too.

Musharraf was briefed about the findings before he left for his foreign tour last week. "I have never seen the president in such agony and anger. He was devastated," the official said.

According to the newspaper, the investigators have reconstructed the last 15 years' activities of Dr Khan through sustained interrogation of his Principal Staff Officer Major (retd) Islamul Haq, his closest confidante Dr Nazir Ahmad, and Brigadiers Sajawal and Tajwar, who were in-charge of procurement and security of KRL.

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