Washington: Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, more popularly known as Dr AQ Khan, the founder of Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme, claims that kickbacks were paid to senior Pakistani military generals in the late 1990s by North Korean officials in exchange for critical nuclear weapons technology.
Dr Khan has provided documents to an American expert on Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme which reveal the North Korean government paid more than $3.5 million to two Pakistani military officials as part of a deal to exchange missile technologies in exchange for nuclear secrets, the expert said on Wednesday.
Khan provided copies of documents to Simon Cameron of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, an authority on Pakistan's weapons programme. He did so to clear his name from a Pakistan government attempt to frame him on charges of running a covert nuclear smuggling operation without official knowledge or consent.
The document is a 1998 letter to him from a top North Korean official that is written in English and purports to describe the secret deal.
"He gave it to me because he regarded it as showing that the story, the perception that he had been a rogue operator was false," Cameron said.
The letter, along with an explanatory statement by Khan describing the deal, suggests that top-level Pakistani military officials were very much in the loop about Khan's extensive sale of nuclear weapons technology to other countries, including North Korea, Iran and Libya.