Thursday, February 05, 2004

The Pakistani Patsy

This link from Yahoo News shows the heartfelt apology by Abdul Qadeer Khan--father of the "Islamic bomb"--for "the extremely unfortunate events of the last two months." In his statement, which was broadcast on the official Pakistan Television (PTV) Khan insisted that there was never official authorization for his activities. He also appealed to the people of Pakistan "in the supreme national interest to refrain from any further speculations and not to politicize this extremely sensitive issue of national security." (The full text of his statement may be found here.)

I find it curious that the whole speech was broadcast in English--although it might be the most widely understood language there, I do not know. The official language is Urdu, although according to our Department of State's background note on Pakistan, only 8% of the population speak it. Almost half, however, do speak Punjabi.

In any event, the message seems to have gone over well. The Pakistan Cabinet voted today to pardon Mr. Khan for his activities. Here at home
(this Washington Post article reports) State Department Boucher stated: "We think that the process of investigation that's been undertaken by the Pakistani government does indeed seriously demonstrate that President Musharraf and the government of Pakistan take seriously their commitments, their assurances that they were not going to allow their technology to be used to help other nations that might be trying to develop weapons of mass destruction. . . . The way this has been proceeding is evidence that Pakistan, too, is determined to meet those commitments."

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