Islamabad, Sep 28: Former Pakistan premier Benazir Bhutto's statement that she might give access to IAEA to probe disgraced nuclear scientist Dr A Q Khan is said to have put the life of the detained scientist at huge risk.
A family friend of Dr Khan has claimed that they now fear that the scientist might be permanently silenced to save those "holy cows" who were given a "clean chit" when the massive scam rocked the world in 2004.
"It is now being feared by the powers that be that a revengeful Dr Khan might spill the beans to settle score with those who made him a scapegoat in the name of saving Pakistan," he said.
Dr Khan's life is now in danger, as it is feared that he might disclose to the international investigators the names of his 'associates' with whose blessings he actually executed his deals with foreign countries in the 1980s and the 1990s, the family source added.
He said when the CIA detected these deals in 2003 his uniformed associates were simply spared by the Americans following a secret deal between Musharraf and Richard Armitage in 2004.
Under this deal, Musharraf was to take action against Dr Khan's network and, in return, the US would support Musharraf in uniform and, most importantly, they would not touch his military generals, both former and serving.
The source said that Dr Khan always felt depressed and betrayed as he was made a scapegoat and all those who had played an important role in nuclear proliferation were simply let off untouched.
But things might look different if Dr Khan is given a chance to present his side of the story for the first time in the last three years, and this has put his life in real danger.
Dr Khan suffered from cancer, which was being treated locally after the government refused to send him abroad, fearing he might be detained in the foreign country for investigation, The News quoted the source, as saying.
At one stage Dr Khan decided to approach the Supreme Court and had even hired the services of two lawyers of Islamabad to file his case.
The lawyers are said to be still in the process of preparing the petition that might be filed in the court to challenge Dr Khan"s detention. But the government came to know about it and sent Atta-ur-Rehman to convince him not to move the court.
Meanwhile, PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar defended Bhutto's approach on the subject, arguing that it was a serious matter and "we needed to understand that the country's security is more important than individuals."