Washington, Feb 7 (ANI): US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has voiced concern about a Pakistani court's decision to free disgraced nuclear scientist Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, who operated an alleged nuclear proliferation network.
"I am very much concerned and will have more to say about that," Clinton said during a brief appearance before the news media with visiting Philippine President Gloria Arroyo.
Gordon Duguid, a State Department spokesman, told reporters earlier that "it would be unfortunate if the court released him," citing the "serious proliferation risk" that he represents.
"The proliferation support that Khan and his associates provided to Iran and North Korea has had a harmful impact on ... international security and will for years to come," The News quoted Duguid, as saying.
Duguid said the US Government could not immediately confirm the information with the Pakistan Government, whose members were not reachable as they had begun observing the Friday sabbath.
In Islamabad, a Pakistani court on Friday declared Khan a free man, five years after he was effectively put under house arrest for allegedly operating a proliferation network.
The chief justice of the Islamabad High Court, Sardar Mohammad Aslam, made the decision after a closed session with lawyers of the government and dr. Khan.
The 72-year-old Khan has been effectively under house arrest in Islamabad since February 2004, when he confessed on television to sending nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea, although he later retracted his remarks.
Military ruler and then president Pervez Musharraf pardoned Khan in 2004, but he was kept at his residence, guarded by troops and intelligence agents.
On January 12, the United States unveiled sanctions against Khan, 12 associates and three firms linked to his nuclear proliferation network.
The sanctions forbid the 16 people and firms from having business dealings with the US government or private US companies in what the State Department says is a renewed bid to make sure the network has been shut down entirely. (ANI)