Middle East

The A.Q. Khan Report by Pakistan ISI

The following is the A.Q. Khan report by Pakistan ISI.

After hearing press complaints and information coming out from various sources after agreements, first by Iran and then Libya, to abandon their programmes of weapons of mass destruction, the Government of Pakistan took a very serious note of the allegations made by various international newspapers and media and started an intensive, thorough and aggressive investigation against a number of scientists and engineers who had anything to do with the production, assembling and testing of centrifuge components and machines as well as those responsible for the import and export of equipment and materials. The Director General of Security and the Director General of Maintenance and General Services were also detained for thorough investigation. The Principal Engineer of the Design Office, who had been abroad for 4 years, had just returned and was also detained. Similarly, the Director General Process Division who was responsible for keeping records of UF6 gas and the Director General Health Physics who kept the records of incoming natural gas and outgoing depleted gas, uranium metal etc. were also detained. The founding father of KRL, Dr. A.Q. Khan, was also interrogated 3 times for many hours by the DG ISI and the DG SPD.

The investigation has yielded the following results:
1. When the organization was set up in mid 1976, a free hand was given
to the Project Director to acquire each and everything through any
means. There was a direct and imminent threat to Pakistan’s security and existence in the wake of the dismemberment of the country in 1971 and after the Indian nuclear test in 1974.
2. Gen. Ziaul Haq had openly proclaimed that to “beg, borrow or steal” was the policy of the day in the light of the imposition of stringent embargoes and restrictions on any nuclear-related materials and equipment to Pakistan.
3. Pakistan, being an under-developed country with no industrial infra-structure, had to buy each and every bit of material and piece of equipment surreptitiously from abroad in the open market and had to establish a network of cover companies within the country and outside to by-pass embargoes and import all the necessary items. Such companies were operating in Kuwait, Bahrain, U.A.E., Singapore, U.K., Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland etc.
4. Since no industrial infra-structure was available within the country, production drawing of all the components of the centrifuge machines were sent to England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Holland etc. for the placing of orders for the thousands of components and equipment required in order to expedite the work, which was a race against time.
5. Dubai, having no customs formalities or restrictions and no financial impediments, was made the main operating centre. All the foreign suppliers (Dutch, British, French, Turkish, Belgian, Swiss, German etc.) were regularly coming to Dubai to discuss offers and orders. A company named Ben Belilah Enterprises BBE), owned by an Arab police officer, was introduced by Mr. A. Salam, a British national. BBE had a Sri Lankan Manager named Farooq. Salam and Farooq, both being Tamils, were good friends. Due to the frequent meetings between our experts and the foreign suppliers, sets of almost all the drawings were kept in Dubai in a flat that had been rented especially for this purpose so they wouldn’t have to be carried to and fro all the time.
6. Due to religious and idealogical affinity, Pakistanis had great affection for Iran. Former COAS, Gen. Aslam Beg was in favour of very close cooperation in the nuclear field in lieu of financial assistance promised to him towards Pakistan’s defence budget. Benazir Bhutto’s government came under a lot of pressure for cooperation and under this pressure and the decision/approval/directive of Gen. Imtiaz Ali, Adviser on Defence (including nuclear matters) to the Prime Minister, KRL gave some drawings and components to Iran for R & D work. The information given was by no means sufficient to enable Iran to establish even a small pilot plant, not to talk of a fully fledged centrifuge plant or produce nuclear weapons. The Iranians already had excellent contacts with European suppliers and they also started importing components and equipment through Dubai (Farooq). For some time there was close cooperation through Farooq. The Iranians wanted drawings etc. of valves, inverters, control panels, cascades etc. from Farooq and they gave him $ 5 million to help them in their efforts to acquire this information. Farooq gave some money to Dr. Niazi who had arranged the initial contact between him (Farooq) and the Iranians and some he transferred to his own accounts. Part of the money was put in an account in the fictitious name of Haider Zaman, which first Farooq and later on Tahir (Farooq’s nephew) and Dr. A.Q. Khan could operate. This account was opened personally by Farooq. Some of the money from this account was used by Tahir for payments etc. and some was donated for vaious social, educational and welfare projects undertaken by Dr. A.Q. Khan in Pakistan.
7. The Iranians needed some P-1 (early discarded model) components. They approached Tahir to request Farooq, an engineer in KRL, to send them these components. These were old components that were no longer being used by KRL and were not sufficient or adequate for the establishment of a small pilot plant or to produce nuclear weapons.
8. If it is true, but this is highly unlikely, that there were some traces of uranium in the Iranian facilities, there is just the remotest off chance that one or more KRL components inadvertently had traces of UF6 gas on them that had not been properly decontaminated before shipment.
9. Farooq (Sri Lanka) was the main contact with the Libyans through Dr. Niazi. He brought the suppliers in contact with them and gave copies of all the drawings etc. which Dr. A.Q. Khan had kept in Dubai for discussions with the suppliers. These drawings also included those of the device, as Dr. Khan was ordering components from England, Switzerland etc. His own old notes were also kept there for necessary use. Farooq and/or Tahir had access to the flat as they were maintaining it and they must have given copies of all the papers to the Libyans. The Libyans gave Farooq/Tahir $ 5 million, some of which they gave to Dr. Niazi, some they transferred to India, Singapore etc. and some was put in the account of the fictitious Haider Zaman. Some money from this account was used by Tahir for payments to suppliers etc. and some was again donated for social, welfare and educational projects in Pakistan run by Dr. Khan.
10. The Iranian affair was closed long ago, but the Libyans were trying to acquire components and equipment from abroad via Dubai either through Tahir or directly from other suppliers in Europe.
11. Whatever assistance was given was done in order to maintain friendly relations between the concerned country and us. It was never seriously believed this would lead to anything as they were scientifically and technologically backward countries unable even to establish a pilot plant of this nature or produce nuclear weapons.
12. It is most unfortunate that these things happened due to the peculiar nature of the circumstances and loose arrangements in those early days and because of the personal obligations of previous governments to these countries. There is a very strict command and control system now under the National Command Authority and nothing can be leaked out or taken away from any facilities any more. Fortunately, these happenings have not done irreparable damage to weapons control regimes and have awakened everyone all over the world to the danger of the vast underground network of western suppliers of this most sensitive and dangerous technology.