Sunday, January 5, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Nine Pakistan nuclear scientists absconding

New Delhi, January 4
At least nine Pakistani nuclear scientists have “secretly” left the country adding to the fears of the world community about the safety of Islamabad’s nuclear weapons falling into wrong hands.

The defection of nuclear scientists, including those trained in China, started in 1997 with the maximum number leaving the country between February to October 2000, barely months after Gen Pervez Musharraf overthrew the government of Mr Nawaz Sharif.

The details about these “defections” were revealed in a memo sent by engineers of CHASNUPP nuclear power plant, built with the Chinese assistance in central Pakistan, to the higher authorities.

The memo published by US-based online ‘South Asia Tribune’ warned the authorities that “many more” of its 250 nuclear scientists and engineers were “planning to run” from the country because they were not getting a fair deal in Pakistan.

The memo, which gave a list of nine absconders, only speculated that these engineers went to the USA, Canada or Australia but in fact they could have gone to any country as they had left without permission or informing the authorities.

It said most of the nuclear engineers and scientists working at CHASNUPP “are unhappy with their salaries and other benefits and are thus looking for openings to leave the country quietly.”

“The working conditions of these nuclear scientists should be a cause for grave concern to everyone as unhappy engineers at nuclear facilities could mean troubles of all kinds,” the weekly quoted a retired Pakistani nuclear scientist as saying.

The weekly said the situation was ripe for any country needing their services to offer them a reasonable package and most would quietly disappear, travelling on passports which would not reveal their qualifications or experience. PTI 

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