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AQ Khan blasts Atlantic mag report about his 'brazen act of illegality' over Rawalpindi house

Islamabad, Tue, 07 Feb 2012 ANI

Islamabad, Feb 7 (ANI): Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, the founding father of Pakistan's nuclear programme blamed by the West for making Pakistan a nuclear power, has condemned inaccuracies in The Atlantic magazine's November 2005 cover story, which he says falsely accused him of a 'brazen act of illegality' when it claimed that his Rawalpindi house was "built in blatant disregard of the law."


The Express Tribune quoted Khan, as saying that the report in The Atlantic "is totally rubbish and based on lies by William Langewiesche, who is a liar."


The Bani Gala house in sight of Rawal Lake "is totally a legal construction and there are dozens of houses in the row of my house," he added.


Blaming the writer for harming his reputation, Khan said: "The court has requested me not to indulge in such interviews and conflicting debates, but despite this I would like to say that the writer, William Langewiesche, has been involved for a long time in my character assassination campaign."


Langewiesche's story sets up a dramatic opposition: the wealthy Khan, with the large country home, against Islamabad's poor, who ultimately drink polluted water near the lake.


"The attraction was not in the setting on the lake (there are prettier lakes nearby) but, rather, in the open defiance of the law - an opportunity for the display of personal power," the writer had claimed.


On June 25, 1992, Pakistan's Capital Development Authority and Islamabad police had launched an operation against residents of Bani Gala to confront supposed encroachment on the lake. The police had arrested over 70 Bani Gala residents, and during a seven-hour standoff, crossfire between the police and the villagers killed two men. The lake development gained instant infamy.


In 1998, Dr Khan was among the villagers who filed suits against the CDA, asking for an end to the construction ban or for separate land on which they could build. On June 25, 1999, Justice Muhammad Nawaz Abbassi gave a judgement in favour of Dr Khan and other petitioners, dismissing an order to bulldoze Khan's and other villagers' homes. (ANI)


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