Dr Khan in Timbuktu (its true!)

This sounds like it came right out of believe it or not, but Khan the Centrifugist ran a hotel in…Timbuktu ! He may be putting Imelda Marcos to shame

Not many Pakistanis would even know that the famous “Timbuktu” is a city in the African state of Mali. Even fewer would know that the father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan has built a fabulous hotel there and has named it after his Dutch wife, Dr Hendrina Khan.
Not only that the Pakistani investigators discovered that Dr Qadeer owned the Hendrina Khan Hotel in Timbuktu, they were shocked to learn that a Pakistan Air Force C-130 aircraft was also used by Dr Qadeer in early 2000 to ferry an exclusive range of carved Pakistani wooden furniture from Islamabad to his Timbuktu hotel. [Kamran Khan/News]

I remember reading the Dawn last year, when the angry old man of Karachi, Ardeshir Cowasjee, wrote [Part 1, Part 2] about how Khan the Centrifugist grabbed land belonging to a mental health hospital. Cowasjee extracts portions from Khan’s court submissions which make very interesting reading.

Here’s an excerpt from an adulatory interview with the man himself:

Q: How do you occupy your free time?

Dr. Khan: I like to feed the squirrels at my office, and the monkeys who live in forest in front of my home. Even if I’m on my way to work, if I see them waiting outside I go back to the kitchen and fetch some bananas or apples. I read a lot, and I write a lot. I’m currently in the process of writing down everything I can remember, anything and everything that has ever happened to me, and I’m putting it in various diaries. (Dr.Khan pointed to a large metal sandooq (chest) in the hallway) This trunk is full of my diaries, but for the moment I’ve locked it and I can’t find the key.

But now it does look like he is receiving poetic justice. No one really believes he could sell his wares without the blessings of the Pakistani military establishment, but the very establishment is now jettisoning him to save its own scalp. We may never get to know the contents of his ‘large metal sandooq’. Update: (2 Feb 2003) Khan’s daughter has allegedly smuggled out an incriminating video tape.


“We embraced him when he stole the technology and most crucial information from Urenco in Holland and delivered the most unachievable to us. What harm has he caused to Pakistan by extending the same knowledge to another Islamic country,” the official questioned, echoing the theme circulating in various educated circles. [Kamran Khan/News]