– Chidanand Rajghatta
Henderson, custodian of many of Khan’s secrets revealed to him as an “insurance” against harassment or worse by the Pakistani establishment, has periodically leaked them to the western media each time Islamabad has turned the screws on Khan, who has been under house detention and close watch ever since Pakistan’s proliferation activities were exposed early last decade.
In the latest such expose, Henderson last week provided Fox News with Khan’s letter to his wife in which the nuclear engineer reveals a stunning degree of proliferation between Islamabad and Beijing, evidently with government compliance. Pakistan has insisted that the proliferation was a rogue operation by Khan and the government or the military had nothing to do with it.
But in the letter Khans says “You know we had cooperation with China for 15 years. We put up a centrifuge plant at Hanzhong (km250 south-west of Xian). We sent 135 C-130 plane loads of machines, inverters, valves, flow meters, pressure gauges. Our teams stayed there for weeks to help and their teams stayed here for weeks at a time. Late minister Liu We, V. M. [vice minister] Li Chew, Vice Minister Jiang Shengjie used to visit us.”
The C-130 military transport planes were given to Pakistan by the United States under a military aid program; Washington has continued to lavish Islamabad with such aid even after reports of its misuse. In fact, documents relating to Pakistan’s proliferation through much of the 1990s suggest Washington was asleep on the watch through much of the nuclear exchanges involving Pakistan, China, North Korea, Iran, and Libya, or simply chose to close its eyes.
Khan also reveals that “the Chinese gave us drawings of the nuclear weapon, gave us kg50 enriched uranium, gave us 10 tons of UF6 (natural) and 5 tons of UF6 (3%). Chinese helped PAEC [Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, the rival organisation to the Khan Research Laboratories] in setting up UF6 plant, production reactor for plutonium and reprocessing plant.”
Further, Khan discloses that Gen Jehangir Karamat [chief of army staff 1996-8, sent by Musharraf as ambassador to US 2004-2006] “took $3 million through me from the N Koreans and asked me to give them some drawings and machines.” In a separate letter to Fox News, Karamat has denied the allegation.
Many of these disclosures are elaborated in detail during Khan’s “questioning,” under pressure from Washington, by the ISI, which put out a separate 17-page report to mollify the US and its allies when the extent of Pakistan’s proliferation was revealed through Libya in 2003.
Khan’s letter to his wife was evidently meant to warn the Pakistani establishment that no harm should come to him and his family even though the nuclear engineer had by then agreed to be the fall guy and agreed, under orders from them military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, to take the blame for government and military-initiated nuclear proliferation in order to save Pakistan from embarrassment and sanctions.
“They might try to get rid of me to cover up all the things (dirty) they got done by me in connection with Iran, Libya & N. Korea,” Khan writes to his wife. “This is just to forewarn you.”
He then instructs her to “Get out quickly to Dubai with Tanya [grand-daughter who lives with them] for a while or leave Tanya with Ayesha [daughter who lives in Islamabad],” signing off the letter with “Love you, Khantje” (diminutive name used between Khan and his wife).
Courtesy: → TOI