Pakistan's "atom bomb father" AQ Khan diagnosed prostate cancer

Deutsche Presse Agentur
Published: Tuesday August 22, 2006

Islamabad- Leading Pakistani doctors have diagnosed the country's top nuclear scientist Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan with prostate cancer, officials said on Tuesday. "Detailed [medical] results of Dr. A Q Khan have unfortunately indicated Adino Carcinoma [cancer] of the prostate," an official spokesman said in Islamabad.

He said that further investigations were being conducted by a board of doctors.

Khan - revered at home as a national hero and the father of Pakistan's nuclear programme - has been under house arrest at his sprawling Islamabad residence since he confessed over two years ago to his involvement in passing nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

However, President Pervez Musharraf pardoned him for his "invaluable" efforts to put the country on the international nuclear map but refused to hand him over to any foreign country for questioning.

The spokesman said that during a routine medical examination of Khan conducted early this month, tests revealed slightly raised level of serum prostate specific antigen (PSA).

"In order to ensure an accurate diagnosis, a detailed examination was immediately conducted including ultra sound guided biopsy at the Kahuta Research Laboratory (KRL) hospital," he said and added the results were analyzed by at least two leading histopathologists.

The spokesman said that best specialist medical care was being provided to Khan in consultations with his family and personal doctors since the state of his health was of public interest.

Pakistan came under tremendous international pressure in October 2003 over revelations by the International Atomic Energy Agency about proliferation of nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea by Khan.

The government assured international community of full cooperation in the global nuclear non-proliferation efforts and introduced in 2004 to check export of nuclear-related materials.

However, Musharraf often made it clear that Pakistan would not hand over Khan to any foreign country for further questioning, saying Islamabad had already shared results of investigations in the nuclear scandal with the international community.