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Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf. — File Photo
Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The disclosure made by retired General Pervez Musharraf in his 2006 autobiography that Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan transferred sensitive nucl­ear material to North Korea had come as a big embarrassment to the country, an official of the Foreign Office said on Friday at a meeting of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee.

The disclosure had forced the Foreign Office on the defensive and left it with no choice but to regurgitate the standard response that Pakistan was firmly against nuclear proliferation, the additional secretary said.

Foreign diplomats viewed the statement with scepticism and disbelief, he added.

The Foreign Office reply came in response to a question by Senator Farhatullah Babar as to what was North Korea’s official reaction to Pervez Musharraf’s revelation in his memoir, In the Line of Fire, that a clandestine proliferation network operating from Pakistan had transferred nearly two dozen centrifuge machines, a flow meter and some special oils to North Korea.

“Had such an irresponsible disclosure been made by a civilian minister or a bureaucrat, he would have been sent to the gallows, but Musharraf got away with it because he was a general,” Senator Farhatullah observed.

The official reaction to Pervez Musharraf’s disclosures would help this committee better understand “the nature and depth” of Pakistan-North Korea relations, he added.

The committee was also briefed on Islamabad’s relations with Tokyo and the government’s position on territorial disputes in the Strait of Malacca.

The meeting, chaired by Senator Nuzhat Sadiq, was attended by Senators Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Shibli Faraz, Dr Karim Khawaja, Tahir Hussain Mashhadi and Farhatullah Babar.

Published in Dawn, August 12th, 2017