North Korea paid several million dollars to top Pakistani military officials, including the then army chief Gen Jehangir Karamat, to gain access to secret nuclear technology and sensitive equipments to make a nuclear bomb, disgraced atomic scientist A Q Khan has claimed.
Khan, known as the father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb, produced a secret letter that he said supported his claim that he transferred more than USD 3 million in payments by North Korea to senior officers in the Pakistani military, The Washington Post reported.
In the letter dated July 15, 1998, posted by the paper on its website, Secretary of the Workers Party of (North) Korea Jon ByongHo asks Khan, who then was the project director of the Kahuta Research Center, to give "agreed documents" and "components" to a North Korean Embassy official in Islamabad.
In the letter, the authenticity of which according to The Post has been confirmed by senior US and western officials, Jon says, "USD 3 millions have already been paid to Army Chief Gen Karamat and half a million dollars and 3 diamond and ruby sets have been given to Gen Zulfiqar Khan".
Both Karamat, who was the army chief from January 1996 to October 1998, and Zulfiqar Khan have refuted the allegations. Zulfiqar called the letter "a fabrication".
In an e-mail from Lahore, Karamat said that Khan, as part of his defence against allegations of personal responsibility for illicit nuclear proliferation, had tried "to shift blame on others". Khan has been accused of selling nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and Syria.
Karamat said the letter's allegations were "malicious with no truth in them whatsoever", The Post said.
N Korea Bribed Pak Army for Nuclear Know-How: Khan
Lalit K Jha/Washington
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