Islamabad, May 30 : Pakistan's nuclear scientist Dr AQ Khan, who was freed a couple of weeks ago and allowed to meet his friends after four years of house arrest, has said that it was his mistake to confess supplying nuclear knowhow to other countries, including Libya and Iran.
He said he confessed to the crime after some of the senior leaders, including PML-Q president Ch Shujaat Hussain assured him that he would not be made to suffer once he admitted to supplying nuclear knowhow to other countries.
This was Khan's first dialogue about his long house arrest. Dr Khan said he had been made a 'scapegoat' and he had made the confession in the larger interest of the country.
"I think the confession was my mistake," the Dawn quoted him as saying.
Criticising Musharraf for Pakistan not becoming "self-sufficient" in national defence, he said: "The team leader is to be held responsible for the failure of the team but all those who were with him did not assert themselves and do a proper job either."
He claimed that the country's nuclear assets and weapons were quite safe and they could not be taken out. "We have a safe and good command and control system. Nobody can take away any nuclear weapon from Pakistan."
He revealed that he had been given a written confessional statement to read. "I should not have read the written statement. I should have spoken in my own words and changed things. I was assured that I would be a free man and be allowed to go anywhere I want," he said.
He added: "I am an innocent man, but I don't want to indulge in any controversy."
When asked if he had been involved in leaking nuclear secrets to any other country, Dr Khan said he was not a part of any illegal or unauthorised deal in any way. "This one sentence covers the whole thing," he asserted.
On being asked if he was willing to speak to officials of US intelligence agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency, he said: "Why should we. We are an independent country, we have not violated any international law, we are not signatory to the NPT, I am a free man, we have no obligation, then why should I agree to that?"
Dr Khan termed the nuclear test conducted in 1998 'a good move' under the circumstances and said the whole credit went to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. "If he had not done it, it might have encouraged India to do some misadventure. There was a general consensus to go for the nuclear test, the whole nation wanted it and it was done properly."