ISLAMABAD: The country’s nuclear programme has been “running without any break” for the past 10 years and the process of uranium enrichment is in progress, too, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan claimed in an interview with Dawn on Saturday.
“Although I have not been associated with the programme for the past 10 years, I know that it has been running without any break and the process of uranium enrichment is in progress,” the nuclear scientist said.
He said although the departments concerned were not giving “final shape to new nuclear weapons”, the material was being prepared and they could be assembled any time if required.
Answering a question about safety of the nuclear assets, Dr Khan said neither the Taliban nor any external force could seize them because of a “highly secured system which has been improved gradually”.
He said the county’s nuclear assets were safe from day one and no country should be worried about them.
“We know how to protect our strength (nukes),” he said in reply to a question about statements from Washington and New Delhi that terrorists could seize Pakistan’s nuclear arsenals.
He said nuclear weapons were not stored at one place and very few people knew about their location. “You can count these people on fingers who exactly know about the location of nuclear arsenals,” he said.
Most of the nuclear weapons made by the Khan Research Laboratories and other departments concerned had been handed over to the military authorities and the practice still continued.
“These weapons are lying in tunnels and safe houses where no one can access them, except very few relevant people,” Dr Khan said.
In reply to a question, he said Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had made the security system of the country’s nuclear programme and nuclear assets foolproof and with the passage of time Gen Ziaul Haq, Gen Mirza Aslam Beg and Gen Abdul Waheed Kakar further beefed up security around them.
“Finally the Strategic Plans Division upgraded the system, making it inaccessible to any one inside and outside the country,” he said.
Asked if the country’s nuclear programme was running satisfactorily, Dr Khan said it was running well.
In reply to another question, the nuclear scientist said he often moved out of his residence because he had no fear about his security. “I have faith in Allah because no one can harm me if He protects me.”