Pakistan produced its nuclear bomb only at a cost of $220 million, which included all expenses made on salaries, medical bills and transportation charges, Dr AQ Khan claims.

He told a TV channel that details of the expenditure were available with the finance ministry and a military team.

He sought 50 million to 60 million dollars to launch a satellite. However, he did not say what response he had received or what was the fate of the project.

Dr Khan said when India carried out nuclear explosion in 1974, he started fearing about Pakistan’s unity as the army’s confidence was already down because of its defeat at the hands of India.

Giving details of the nuclear explosions conducted by Pakistan, Dr Khan said some people close to then prime minister Nawaz Sharif had suggested to their boss that instead of testing nuclear weapons he should accept financial assistance from the United States.

He said in this situation TheNation and Nawa-i-Waqt Editor-in-Chief Majid Nizami told Mr Sharif in plain words that if he failed to go for explosion, people would explode him.

Dr Khan highlighted his own role in the development of nuclear weapons. He also reiterated the way he persuaded Mr Bhutto about the need for a nuclear programme.

He said the money spent on the nuclear programme was insignificant as Pakistan had purchased two submarines for $1.5billion. In response to a question, Dr Khan said the funds used on the nuclear programme were audited by the government. There was no complaint of misappropriation of a single penny, he claimed.

According to him, under US pressure, Gen Musharraf wanted to get rid of him. For its nuclear programme, he said, Pakistan had obtained U-7 from China.