Pak court asks govt lift curbs on AQ Khan
A Pakistani court on Friday ordered the government to lift any remaining restrictions on a scientist alleged to have spread nuclear technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya, his lawyer said.
The interim instruction came in response to a petition filed by scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan and could stir alarm in the United States, which still regards him as a proliferation risk.
Khan's lawyer, Ali Zafar, said the Lahore High Court observed that "nobody can restrict the movement of AQ Khan given a court ruling earlier this year that declared him a "free citizen"
He said notices had been issued to the police and government asking them to explain at the next hearing why they were continuing to do so.
"It is excellent and heart warming and very gratifying," Khan told reporters gathered at his house. "I think the people who have been involved in playing mischief with me will get the message and allow me live a peaceful, private life as a citizen."
It was unclear whether authorities would obey the instruction.
Judges adjourned the case until Sept. 4 when police and government officials would explain their position, said Usman Anwar, the additional secretary of the provincial interior ministry.
Khan was detained in December 2003 and admitted on television in early 2004 sole responsibility for operating a network that spread nuclear weapons technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya. He has since repeatedly retracted that statement.