WASHINGTON, Aug 27: The United States should realise that Pakistan has extended maximum possible cooperation to the international effort to dismantle the Khan network of nuclear proliferators and cannot go beyond what it has already done, says Ambassador Jehangir Karamat.
“They should know that we cannot extradite Dr A. Q. Khan. They should not even talk about it,” said the former army chief, who now represents Pakistan in Washington.
Mr Karamat told a meeting of the Washington Policy Analysis Group that while the US administration appreciated Pakistan’s position on issues like nuclear proliferation and terrorism, there were people in the media and other places who continued to criticize Pakistan.
“They should deal with Pakistan as an ally and stop treating it as a target,” said the ambassador.
He also urged them to understand that America’s alliance with Pakistan has been beneficial to the fight against terror. “There may be individuals or individual groups who might have been involved in terrorism but their activities should not be exploited to claim that Pakistan or the Pakistani establishment is involved in such activities. We are not.”
Mr Karamat defended President Pervez Musharraf’s decision to confirm Dr Khan’s involvement in supplying nuclear technology to North Korea in a recent interview to a Japanese news agency.
“The purpose of this confirmation was to make it clear that Dr Khan had only given centrifuge technology and nothing beyond that because he did not have access to anything other than this technology.”
The ambassador said that Pakistan has been sharing the information it received from interrogating Dr Khan with the US and the International Atomic Energy Agency ever since the interrogation began.
“It’s Pakistani cooperation that allowed the US and the IAEA to bust the network…There’s no need to criticize us.”
The ambassador said that while such criticism did not affect the US administration, it did have a negative impact in the US Congress and hurt Pakistan.
Mr Karamat defended President Musharraf’s decision to address a Jewish congregation in New York next month and said that the Jewish community was very influential in the US and he saw no harm in reaching out to them.
“We are only trying to reach out to the Jewish community in America and we should because they are a very important part of American society,” said Mr Karamat.
The ambassador said that Pakistan had not yet decided how to tackle the Indo-US deal which would allow India to acquire nuclear technology from the United States.
“One option would be to oppose the deal and ask the US not to implement it. The other approach would be to ask them not to make it India-specific so that any country that fulfils the criterion for receiving such cooperation should receive it.”
Mr Karamat said that Pakistan was also seeking to further enhance its defence cooperation with the US and had asked for 100 F-16 aircraft from Washington. The US, he said, was delivering two aircraft in December while the regular delivery would start in 2007.
Mr Karamat rejected speculation that he may soon return to Islamabad to join the government at a senior level. “I have no desire to do so,” he said and also rejected a claim attributed to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that he or another general had opposed the 1998 nuclear tests.