Some KRL scientists released: minister

21 Jan 2004

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ISLAMABAD, Jan 20: Some scientists of the Khan Research Laboratories, including Dr Saeed, who had been picked up by a secret agency some time ago for "debriefing", were released on Tuesday , the federal information minister and sources close to one of the released scientists said.

Information Minister Shaikh Rashid Ahmed confirmed that some of the KRL scientists had been released but did not specify their exact number or their names.

"I will be in a position to give details about the released officials on Wednesday," he said. A source close to Dr Saeed, who was picked up on Dec 3, 2003, said the scientist arrived at his home at about 1pm, adding he (Dr Saeed) had been told not to disclose anything about the debriefing session and he was not forthcoming in this regard even to the members of his own family.

Meanwhile, family members of another senior KRL official, Muhammad Farooq, who was reportedly picked up on Nov 23, 2003, said he had not been released so far.

Mr Farooq's daughter said her family had been receiving telephone calls since Tuesday morning from people who wanted to confirmed if her father had been released.

She said her family had met her father Muhammad Farooq at a house probably located in sector G-9/1 on Dec 1. The meeting was arranged by some officials of the Inter-Services Intelligence, she added.

She said her father had so far contacted the family twice. "He received his last call on Dec 8," she said. Meanwhile, children of KRL scientists, who were recently picked up for debriefing, held a press conference at a house demanding of the government to release their fathers.

They said they would challenge their (KRL officials) detention in court if they were not released soon. They said that about 25 KRL officials had so far been picked up for questioning.

"We just want them back as soon as possible. At least they should (be allowed to) talk to us on phone. (They should) tell us about their well-being. We are scared (as) the way they were taken away did not leave a very positive impact on our minds. We fear their lives may be in danger," they said.

Director-General of the Inter-Services Public Relation Maj-Gen Shaukat Sultan said KRL officials, who were being debriefed, would remain under custody until the completion of investigations.

"Debriefing is not a matter for concern rather it is normal (and) routine," he added. The ISPR chief said if required, more official of the KRL may be called for debriefing.