Dr. A.Q. KHAN Interview With NewsWeek

Pakistan’s nuclear assets are often described as the “Islamic bomb.”Given that no other Muslim-majority country has the bomb, is thisdescription something that you agree with?

The term “Islamic Bomb” was mischievously coined by the Western worldto frighten the rest of the world and to portray Muslims, and Pakistan,as terrorists who should not possess an atom bomb. The Western world isunited in Muslim-bashing and ridiculing Islam and its golden values.

The U.N. has slapped sanctions on Iran—ostensibly as punishment forthe Islamic country’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. How do you see globalgeopolitics shifting if Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons?

In Iran the same mischievous propaganda is at work to befool the ratherignorant—or less knowledgeable—public that it poses a threat and is afanatic, terrorist country. Have we already forgotten that, despite therepeated statements of no WMD in Iraq that were made by [former U.N.weapons inspector] Hans Blix after IAEA [International Atomic EnergyAgency] inspectors made regular visits to that country, Bush and Blairstill attacked Iraq? In this process they killed thousands of people,destroyed an ancient civilization, occupied the country, and putstooges in place to play their part in the killing of their own people.Iran, as everyone knows, is a member of the NPT [NuclearNon-Proliferation Treaty] regime, that it is open to IAEA inspection ofall its sites, to which it is adhering, and that it cannot producenuclear weapons material or nuclear weapons. This is yet anotherexample of Western hypocrisy.

Most here take pride in the fact that Pakistan is a nuclear stateand believe this has served as a deterrent to conventional war withIndia.

Yes, I fully agree. Our nuclear program has ensured our survival, oursecurity, and our sovereignty ... I am proud to have contributed to ittogether with my patriotic and able colleagues.

Former ISI chief Javed Ashraf Qazi recently told Pakistan’s DawnNews TV channel that CIA agents were caught in 1994–95 trying to buyinformation on Pakistan’s nuclear program. The refrain that Pakistan’snuclear weapons are unsafe and can fall into the hands of radicalIslamic organizations is also often played up in the Western press. Howsecure is the nuclear arsenal?

Nobody ever penetrated Kahuta [the site of Pakistan’s main nuclearfacility], nor could they do so. The Americans, contrary to their tallclaims, were totally in the dark about the status of our program.Majors—or even generals, for that matter—had no access to sensitive andclassified information ... [Kahuta] or PAEC [Pakistan Atomic EnergyCommission] were never a department store where one could go and pickup a bomb! The American and British intelligence agencies tried tobribe and buy two of our scientists, who refused all sorts ofincentives and reported the matter to me.

Can nuclear weapons fall into the wrong hands?

This is again a Western myth and one of their phobias. A nuclearweapon—good or dirty—is a highly complicated and sophisticated device.A large number of parts are needed, and expertise is required toassemble such a device. Even scientists and engineers without therelevant experience are not able to do this, let alone to talk ofilliterate, untrained terrorists.
We have examples of countries, like South Africa and, to an extent,Libya, that decided to give up on their nuclear ambitions. Howrealistic is the possibility of a world with no nukes?

It is very convenient to give South Africa and Libya as examples ofself-deweaponization. However, let us look at the backgrounds first. InSouth Africa the “whites” destroyed their nuclear weapons beforehanding over power to the “blacks.” They could not accept the fact that“black” people should—or could—possess them. The Libyans panicked afterthe West attacked Iraq and eliminated Saddam Hussein by falselyaccusing that country of possessing nuclear weapons.
The U.S. was aware of Pakistan’s nuclear program but turned a blindeye to it during the original Afghan jihad. As soon as the Soviets weredefeated, the U.S. Congress barred American military aid to Pakistan.Has the world made an unfair distinction between Pakistan’s and India’spursuit of a nuclear program?

The Afghan War was a blessing for our nuclear program. It was not thatthe Western countries actively supported it but that they were tooscared and occupied with the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and itsfuture consequences to actively oppose it. Neither the Americans northe British had a clue about the status of our program until 1990.After the Afghan War they slapped sanctions on us to extractconcessions from [fomer Pakistani president] Benazir Bhutto’sgovernment, but [former president] Ghulam Ishaq Khan and [former Armychief] Gen. Aslam Beg frustrated their nefarious designs.

There have been reports that the American Joint Special Operations Command wanted to assassinate you. How safe do you feel?

It is all pure humbug. Nobody ever tried to assassinate me. I traveledall over the world at a time when everyone knew that I was thearchitect of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program. The fact is that AllahAlmighty had not yet fixed the time and place for my demise. I neverwas, and never will be, afraid of so-called threats. When ourpredetermined time comes, Hazrat Izrael [the angel of death] will findus, no matter where we are hiding.
Have the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq made the world safer?

No, the world is not a safer place. Nationalists—call themfundamentalists or extremists if you like—have obtained a mobilizationpoint with [the wars], have united, and are determined to negate theplans and designs of the Western countries.

The CIA chief, Leon Panetta, said earlier this year that Pakistan isnow the headquarters of Al Qaeda. British leaders have declaredPakistan the exporter of global terrorism. Is this accurate, and, ifso, what can Pakistan do to turn the tide?

The CIA chief—like his bosses and those before him—is a liar. There isno headquarters of Al Qaeda in Pakistan. Yes, Pakistan has become veryunsafe due to foreign troops in Afghanistan. Our cohesion has beenshattered. The spineless political leaders have turned our country—anuclear and missile power with 175 million people—into a beggar state,a third-rate country. If there had been any pride left in our leaders,they would have responded appropriately and nobody would have dared tosay such things in the first place.

Despite your televised address more than six years ago, yourpopularity among Pakistanis has largely remained intact. Did you everfeel let down?

There is a saying that the common people are too clever to be fooled bycrooks. The nation as a whole is aware of the truth ... No, I do notfeel let down by the Pakistani people, but I do feel let down by thePakistani government.

Is Pakistan a threat to the world?

No, Pakistan is not a threat to any country. If Western troops withdrawfrom this area we would once again have peace and tranquility here. Istill hope that someday we will find honest, God-fearing leaders toturn this country into one of prosperity and peace.
There is also the popular theory that Pakistan is a nation with nosustainable identity. The bomb, like cricket, is one of those thingsthat bind all Pakistanis in common pride and cause. Do you agree?

Pakistan was not an artificially created country. We, the Muslims inIndia, were a separate nation with a distinct culture, history, socialorder, and heritage. By any definition we were a nation. Unfortunately,selfish, narrow-minded leaders broke it into ethnic groups, which ledto exploitation. Nuclear weapons made the nation walk with heads heldhigh.


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