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Pak scientists helping Iraq's nuclear programme: report

Ajit Jain in Toronto | January 21, 2003 15:33 IST

Reports in Asian Pacific Post, a Vancouver-based newspaper, on Monday said at least five Pakistani nuclear scientists, who trained with the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited and worked on nuclear reactors in Canada, could be developing nuclear weapons for Iraq, Iran, and North Korea.

The five reportedly left Pakistan under mysterious circumstances.

"A Pakistani government memo speculated that these engineers went to the United States, Canada or Australia, but they could have gone to any country as they had left without permission or informing the authorities," the newspaper said.

"It [the memo] said most of the nuclear engineers and scientists working at Chasnupp [Pakistan's newest and largest nuclear facility] are unhappy with their salaries and other benefits and are thus looking for openings to leave the country quietly."

The five scientists trained at Candu reactors in New Brunswick and Ontario.

Celebrated Pakistani metallurgist Dr A Q Khan, credited with spearheading the development of Pakistan's nuclear programme, also trained in Canada, the newspaper said.

"Khan, who is well-connected to the AECL and has visited Canadian nuclear sites, is in the eye of a growing storm that blames him for assisting Iran, Iraq, and North Korea, the states described as the 'axis of evil' by US President George W Bush," the Asian Pacific Post said.

"Pakistani scientists like Khan, Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood and Chaudhry Abdul Majeed got uranium enrichment expertise courtesy of AECL," the report said.

Pakistan has a single 137-megawatt KANUPP Candu reactor, built in the mid-60s by Canadian General Electric with AECL's help.


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