Trouble brewing in Kahuta

Meanwhile, some senior KRL scientists called on chief of the Strategic Planning Division Lt Gen Qidwai, expressing their apprehensions and resentment over disappearances of their colleagues, informed sources said.

They said the SPD’s chief told the scientists that even his department, which served as a supervisory body for the country’s sensitive institutions, was unaware about the incident. The KRL delegation was assured about provision of “complete security” to nuclear scientists in future, the sources said.

The SPD’s chief said no KRL scientist would be picked up for “debriefing” in future, and if necessary, they would be debriefed in their own offices. Another KRL source said some other scientists of the institution were also “missing.” However, their number and names could not be ascertained. The Dawn

The sequence of events – two top Kahuta scientists were reported to have been arrested by Pakistani authorities. This was initially denied. Then came the stories that part of the team which arrested the two consisted of white men, leading many to believe they were in FBI custody. This was also denied by the Foreign Office spokesman, who claimed that they were being held for ‘debriefing’. Meanwhile members of Parliament raised a storm forcing government to admit they were being debriefed just like they would be in any responsible nuclear nation. One would have have assumed the chief of the government agency charged with overseeing the nuclear establishment would know of such debriefings. But Gen Qidwai is quoted as saying he was in the dark. Dr Khan (the centrifugist) is silent and nowhere in the scene.

What this almost certainly implies is that the involvement of Kahuta scientists in proliferation affairs is beyond any doubt. Whether the Augean stables are being cleaned by Musharraf to cover up deeper secrets or at the behest of Washington remains unknown.

  • A State Department official also endorsed this view, saying: “Yes, the US government has not said anything about Pakistan’s connection with the Iranian nuclear programme.”
  • Earlier this year, the US administration imposed sanctions on the Kahuta Research Laboratories, saying that the establishment was allegedly providing material support to a country or people trying to develop weapons of mass destruction or the missiles that carry them.
  • Ayaz Amir’s indignation at the whole affair