Govt seeks media ban on Dr AQ Khan -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Govt seeks media ban on Dr AQ Khan

LAHORE — The federal government on Monday sought Lahore High Court’s permission to further interrogate nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadir Khan with respect to fresh interview he gave to an American newspaper about the nuclear programme of Pakistan.

Attorney General of Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan filed the Civil Miscellaneous (CM) application in relation to govt’s main petition on which judgment has been reserved for several times. In-camera proceedings on the plea lasted 15 minutes in the chamber of Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry and judgment was deferred until March 24.

Earlier, it was expected that the judge rule on the two petitions – one filed by Dr AQ Khan against govt’s restrictions on his movement and the second moved federal government, seeking ban on Khan’s free movement.

The AGP submitted that new allegations have come up against Dr AQ Khan and the government wanted to probe into on matter.

It s alleged that Simon Andersen has published two articles in The Washington Post about nuclear programme of the Pakistan and the reporter claimed that his source of information was Dr AQ Khan.
As the articles reportedly contained material affecting national security implications for Pakistan so the authorities wanted permission to question Mr Khan. Ahmar Bilal Sufi, the counsel for the government, said the authorities wanted to quiz Khan about the articles contents.

According to the plea, the articles could be a conspiracy against Pakistan or Dr Khan, and in view of national interests urgent measures are needed to probe the matter.

On the other hand, Ali Zafar, counsel for AQ Khan, said his client had already denied all allegations vis-a-vis the interviews, adding the government was using delaying tactics by filing the new application when the judgment was due on the petition of Dr Khan.

It is pertinent to mention here that on March 11, Justice Ijaz Chaudhry had reserved judgment for March 22, and similarly on March 6 also, the court had reserved judgment for next date.

The federation submitted that different foreign journalists, in their articles, had asserted that they were in communication with Dr Khan, attributing sensitive discussion with him. Dr Khan should either deny or admit the claims made by foreign journalists, said the petitioner.

Dr Khan had also a plea, challenging government’s ban on meeting his relatives, as well as medical supplies to him under the cover of a court order the judge had directed federal government to allow medical facilities to Dr Khan and permit him to meet his relatives.

AFP adds: The government asked the Lahore High Court to prevent nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan from giving interviews to the media.

The move came three weeks before Pakistan is scheduled to attend a US summit on nuclear security hosted by President Barack Obama which will focus on securing vulnerable atomic materials and preventing acts of nuclear terrorism.

While the facts are investigated, the application demanded that Dr Khan in the meantime “be directed to refrain from any interaction with media.”

Last week, a foreign ministry spokesman rejected the Washington Post stories as “fiction.”
Dr Khan has filed a string of complaints in court against security arrangements to which he has been subject since his five-year house arrest was lifted in February 2009.
Source: The Nation
Date:3/23/2010