Washington, DC – Howard L. Berman (D-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today spoke out against Pakistan's release of nuclear proliferator A.Q. Khan from house arrest:
“It is very alarming that A.Q. Khan, the worst proliferator of nuclear weapons technology in history, has been freed,” Berman said. “It is unclear whether the illicit smuggling network he created was fully dismantled even after he was placed under nominal ‘house’ arrest. I am deeply concerned that, by releasing him, the Pakistani government may in effect be giving him license to resume, perhaps directly, his past actions to aid, abet and profit from the spread of nuclear weapons.”
Pakistan placed Khan, who is credited with transforming his country into a nuclear power, under indefinite house arrest in 2004 after he confessed to running an illicit international nuclear network. Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf pardoned Khan and refused to let U.S. investigators interview him about the extent of his network’s activities, which are believed to have included trade with North Korea and Iran. A court established by Musharraf lifted the restrictions today on Khan’s movement.
“U.S. officials have been prevented from interviewing Khan to try to determine the extent of the damage he has done to world stability,” Berman noted. “Congress will take this into account as we review and create legislation on U.S.-Pakistan relations and the circumstances under which U.S. assistance is provided to Islamabad.”