Tuesday, September 18, 2007
'Nuclear Scene' in Pakistan
AQ Khan may move SC against ‘detention’
By Rauf Klasra: The News, September 19, 2007
ISLAMABAD: Nuclear scientist Dr AQ Khan is said to have hired the services of two top lawyers of Islamabad to challenge the decision of President General Pervez Musharraf in 2004 to detain him on charges of nuclear proliferation without proving them in any court of law.
General Musharraf would be directly accused in the petition of backing out of the “promises”, which he reportedly had made with AQ Khan at the time of seeking his favour to confess to his “crimes” in a televised address to “save” Pakistan from dangers to its existence.
The PM’s Advisor on Science Prof Attaur Rehman has already secretly met Dr AQ Khan at his residence at E-7 to stop him from taking such a step, after the secret agencies brought this explosive development into the notice of the government.
The current judicial activism is understood to have encouraged Dr AQ Khan to move the court. When contacted by ‘The News’, Dr Rehman confirmed on Tuesday that he had met AQ Khan recently at his residence. But he denied that his meeting with the nuclear scientist was part of the government attempt to stop him from moving the Supreme Court. He termed it a personal meeting with an “old friend” whom he respected a lot. He also denied that he had played any role in helping Dr AQ Khan earn some concessions from the government in the recent days after he threatened to move the Supreme Court.
Before going to Karachi recently to stay with his sister there, Dr AQ Khan is said to have asked his lawyers in Islamabad to prepare the petition as he thought that he was detained without any trial and that the government had failed to establish his crimes in the court of law.
AQ Khan’s case in the Supreme Court would be the fourth big case in the last six months. The other three cases, which created political ripples in the recent months and might change the whole political landscape of the country, included the reinstatement of the chief justice of Pakistan, allowing the Sharif brothers to return to the country, and Qazi Hussain Ahmed’s petition challenging the two offices of General Musharraf.
Sources said Dr Attaur Rehman, who has been a great beneficiary of his friendship with Dr AQ Khan in the past, was assigned the job of persuading a determined AQ Khan not to approach the superior court at this very critical moment, particularly when General Musharraf himself is under mounting judicial and political pressure. But despite the offer of certain concessions, AQ Khan is understood to have, so far, not given any positive reply. Sources said Dr Attaur Rehman has also played an important role in helping Dr AQ Khan win certain concessions and his recent long trip to Karachi was part of these new “confidence-building measures” being offered by the Musharraf government to stop AQ Khan from moving the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, sources said, the two lawyers were now giving final touches to the extraordinary petition. “It is now only a matter of time. The case is almost ready and it can be submitted in the court any time,” claimed a top source aware of all these developments.
Meanwhile, talking to The News, Zafar Khokhar, the former attorney general of Pakistan, denied that he was instructed to prepare Dr Khan’s petition. However, Mr Khokar blasted the government for keeping Dr AQ Khan in illegal detention. He said actually certain promises were made to Dr AQ Khan at the time of his public confession. Mr Khokhar claimed that Dr AQ Khan was told by the government that he needed to offer sacrifice at this testing time to save the country a second time, as he had done earlier by helping Pakistan develop the nuclear technology. ButZafar accused the government of not fulfilling those “promises”. However, reliable sources have insisted that Mr Khokhar was actually working on the petition and that it would be filed soon in the court.
N-POWER FUEL COMPLEX TO BE SET UP IN FAISALABAD
By Khalid Mustafa: The News, September 19, 2007
ISLAMABAD: With a view to ending dependency on nuclear fuel supplier countries, the government has planned to initiate first-ever project of Pakistan Nuclear Power Fuel Complex in Faisalabad.
The project will cost Rs16.112 billion wherein fuel fabrication plant and seamless tube plant-1, nuclear power fuel testing project and chemical processing plant will be established. The executive committee of National Economic Council [Ecnec] that meets today (Wednesday) with Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in chair is set to approve this project, a senior government official told 'The News' Tuesday.
"The unique project will help attain Pakistan indigenous capability in manufacturing nuclear fuel for power generation." According to a senior government official, the fuel fabrication plant envisages developing capability for indigenous fabrication of fuel assembly. Initially, under phase-1, the capacity of plant would be 40 tons.
"However, the plant will be operated at 70% annual production capacity to meet fuel roads requirement of Chashma nuclear power plant-1 and Chashma nuclear power plant-2. The fuel fabrication plant will be installed in 60 months time at a cost of Rs 3.266 billion." Under the proposed project of seamless tube plant-1, an infrastructure for the production of structural materials (tubes and rods) to be used by the fuel fabrication plant to manufacture nuclear fuel for nuclear power plants.
Seamless tube plant-1 will be established in 60 months time too at the cost of Rs 2.707 billion. The safe and reliable operation of nuclear power plants is dependent on tested and qualified nuclear fuel. This project will provide tested nuclear fuel and reliable operation of nuclear power plants. This plant will help Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission [PAEC] in attaining 100% capability of technology needed to manufacture pressurized water reactor nuclear fuels and will act as a roadmap for ultimately achieving the capability of fulfilling the requirement of one third of fuel needed for nuclear power plants to be constructed by the year 2030. At present the country's dependence on fossil fuel is 44.1% gas and 20.2% oil for power generation. The fossil fuel is depleting fast besides its price in international market is very vulnerable. Therefore, it is imperative to diversify the fuel mix in power generation. Accordingly, the energy security action plan has envisaged increasing the share of nuclear power from 1% to 4.2% by installing 8800 MW nuclear power plants by 2030.
The official said presently, the government was working on 325 MW Chashma Nuclear Power Plant-2, which will be completed by 2010-2011. In addition, the authorities concerned are also conducting the feasibility studies for Karachi nuclear power plant-II and Karachi nuclear power plant-III.
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