Flowers, prayers in Pakistan for ailing A.Q. Khan

By Indo Asian News Service | Sunday, September 10, 2006 | 11:33:29 AM IST (+05:30 GMT) Comment 0 Comment

Islamabad, Sep 10 (IANS) Pakistan's Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz sent flowers while prayers were recited across the country to wish controversial nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan speedy recovery following a surgery for prostate cancer.

Islamabad, Sep 10 (IANS) Pakistan's Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz sent flowers while prayers were recited across the country to wish controversial nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan speedy recovery following a surgery for prostate cancer.

Thousands of SMSs were circulated in Karachi wishing Khan good health. Activists from NGOs freed pigeons outside the Karachi Press Club for the early recovery of the scientist who underwent an operation Saturday, said The Nation newspaper.

It is not known whether there was any word from President Pervez Musharraf, who calls Khan 'my hero', but has detained him for illegally leaking nuclear secrets to Libya, North Korea, Iran and Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Pakistan says Khan had kept successive governments in the dark regarding the leak, a claim that has been seriously contested by experts.

Although disgraced, Khan enjoys official support and public adulation.

The prime minister had met Khan earlier, along with leaders of the pro-Musharraf Pakistan Muslim League (Qaid), when it became known that the man who pioneered Pakistan's nuclear programme was diagnosed with cancer.

The India-born Khan was moved out from his home-detention this week for the first time since January 2004 to be admitted to the Agha Khan University Hospital, Karachi.

A team of top Pakistani doctors performed the surgery. Strict security was maintained and no one other than Khan's immediate relatives was informed.

Khan is wanted for interrogation by US nuclear specialists and those of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) but Pakistan has consistently debarred any foreigner from meeting Khan.

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