Cablegate: Possible Release of A.Q. Khan


DE RUEHC #7957 1012232
O 102226Z APR 08

S E C R E T STATE 037957



E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/10/2018

Classified By: SCA Richard A. Boucher, Reasons: 1.4 B C AND D

SUMMARY AND Action request

1. (C) Washington is concerned that the government of
Pakistan may release A.Q. Khan. Washington requests Post to
please draw from points in para 4, as appropriate, with
senior government officials including the Director General of
Strategic Plans Division Lt. Gen (retd) Kidwai.

End summary and action request.


2. (S/NF) Post should achieve the following objectives:

-- Inquire about the accuracy of press reports indicating
that Dr. Khan will soon be released from house arrest.

-- Express Washington,s strong opposition to the release of
Dr. Khan and urge the Government of Pakistan to continue
holding him under house arrest.,

-- Explain the possible negative consequences that the
release of Dr. Khan will have on Pakistan,s image in the
international community. Note that it would undermine the
positive steps Pakistan has taken on nonproliferation.

-- Urge Pakistan to consider the long-term gains it could
garner from the international community by continuing Dr.
Khan,s current status rather than the short-term domestic
political gains that could result from his release.

End objectives.


3. (S/NF) Recent press reports indicate a plan for Dr.
Khan,s release was approved for delivery to Prime Minister
Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani. We should determine the accuracy of
the reports and clearly indicate to the new government, as
well as Director General Kidwai, our strong opposition to
Khan,s release. Dr. Khan was the central figure in the most
egregious violation of nonproliferation norms to date and his
release would likely indicate to the international community
a disregard by Pakistan for the dire threat still posed to
international security by Dr. Khan,s activities. It could
also undermine ongoing prosecution efforts underway in other
countries to punish Khan associates and would be a setback to
our ongoing bilateral nonproliferation efforts with Pakistan.

End background.

Talking Points

4. (S/Rel Pakistan) Begin Talking Points for Pakistan:

-- Pakistan has taken positive steps over the past few years
to demonstrate its commitment to nonproliferation, including
enacting its 2004 export control law, establishing the
Strategic Export Control Division (SECDIV), and joining the
Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.

-- We are deeply troubled by press reports that Pakistan may
consider releasing Dr. Khan. We hope that these press
reports are not accurate.

-- We urge you not to change Dr. Khan,s current status.
While the release of Dr. Khan would be viewed positively by
some in Pakistan, it would undermine Pakistan,s broader
nonproliferation efforts and signal to the international
community that Pakistan is no longer concerned about the harm
caused by Dr. Khan and his network.

-- When Dr. Khan was pardoned by President Musharraf,
Pakistan was widely criticized in the international community
for not having prosecuted him or anyone else associated with
his proliferation activities.

-- The damage done to international security by Dr. Khan and
his associates is not a closed book. Other countries
continue efforts to prosecute those involved. The U.S., and
other countries, as well as the IAEA, are expending enormous
amounts of time and resources to address the threats that
resulted from Dr. Khan,s engagement with Iran, North Korea,
and possibly other states.

-- Because of Khan,s actions, the international community
must contend with the reality that the uranium enrichment
technology and nuclear weapons designs that were sold to
Libya are now available to other states and non-state actors.
This will make it much harder to combat nuclear
proliferation in the future.

-- The U.S. and Pakistan have worked together to address the
problems caused by Dr. Khan,s proliferation to other
countries and we look forward to our continued close
cooperation on this and other related issues.

End talking points for Pakistan.


5. (U) Please report response if possible by April 17, 2008.


6. (U) Department point of contact is Chris Herrington
ISN/CPI, 647-5035. Please slug all responses for ISN, T, and
SCA. Washington appreciates Post,s assistance.

© Scoop Media

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