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Pakistan frees aide to disgraced nuclear scientist

By Staff
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ISLAMABAD, Apr 30 (Reuters) Pakistan has released a key aide to disgraced nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan after holding him for more than two years in a probe into a nuclear blackmarket scandal, the military said today.

Authorities detained about a dozen men for questioning after the scandal involving the father of the Pakistan's atom bomb came to light in late 2003.

Later, all but Mohammad Farooq, director of procurement at a uranium-enrichment laboratory established by Khan near the capital Islamabad, were released.

Military spokesman Major-General Shaukat Sultan said Farooq had also been released last week.

''He has gone home. (But) he has been advised to stay home and restrict his movements for the sake of his own security,'' Sultan said without giving further details.

Khan has been under house arrest since the investigation was launched against him and authorities last month tightened security at his home.

Khan, praised at home for his role in developing a nuclear weapon, confessed in February 2004 in a televised address that he sold nuclear secrets to Libya, Iran and North Korea.

The government sacked him as special adviser but President Pervez Musharraf pardoned him.

REUTERS SI KN1407

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