DUBAI - “All the Western countries are against any Muslim country having a nuclear capacity,” said Pakistan’s former nuclear scientist in an exclusive interview with Arab News. “Never do you hear a word said about Israel’s nuclear programme,” he said.

International community keeps raising concerns over the safety of the country’s nuclear arsenal. “The safety and security system which has been put in place by the SPD (Strategic Plans Division) is failsafe,” said Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, in a reply to questions sent to him by email.

Dr Khan stressed that Pakistan has “no evil designs against any country” and that the country’s nukes are purely for “self-defence” and deterrence, adding that in case of an aggression “there will be no concessions from Pakistan.”

Advocating Pakistan’s nuclear ambition, Dr Khan said, “It has definitely protected Pakistan, not only from an aggressive India, but also from (foreign) adventurists.”

“We all know what happened to non-nuclear Pakistan in 1971. Since the early 1980s the world was aware that we had a nuclear programme and neither India nor any other country has dared to touch us ... I gave Pakistan the capability of hitting back if it was attacked making any misadventure on the part of India fatal for both countries,” he said.

The two countries could live together in peace and harmony “if the Kashmir problem is solved amicably,” he said.

As Pakistan heads toward the general election next month (July 25), Dr Khan said that he has no political plans.

Dr Khan dissolved his political party, Tahreek-e-Tahaffuz-e-Pakistan (Movement for the Protection of Pakistan), after the 2013 election. “The formation of that party was at the insistence of many people and I gave them the opportunity to try. However, there were no good results. Politics in Pakistan requires rolling banknotes,” he said.

On Wednesday, the Election Commission of Pakistan made public the assets of main electoral candidates in the 2018 elections, figures that have shown rich political leaders living lavish lifestyle.

Pakistan problems are caused by the “corrupt system and political inabilities” where leaders had most of their wealth stashed abroad and “little interest in safeguarding national interests,” Dr Khan said.

“See how Gen Musharraf, a military dictator, sold this country’s sovereignty to the West at a simple phone call from the US. For that, we have paid, and are still paying, a very heavy price.”

Dr Khan alleged that he was sacked by Musharraf on a US whim at a time when he could have done much more for Pakistan. “… Read what Chaudhry Shujaat Husain has said about that episode in his autobiography.” He said Musharraf “neutralised” him (Dr AQ Khan) because President Bush wanted him to do so. “The country suffered because of it.”

“I could have done a lot more for Pakistan in the years after my retirement but was prevented from doing so by him (Musharraf). Now he himself is in disgrace while the nation still honours me,” said the 83-year old former nuclear physicist, recalling his sacking.

Dr Khan, who visited North Korea before under a missile programme mission by Pakistan, believes that the recent Trump-Kim summit in Singapore will not definitely lead to Pyongyang’s denuclearisation. “North Koreans are very pragmatic,” he said.

“As long as US troops are in Japan and South Korea, North Korea will not freeze or abandon its nuclear programme.”

Both the US and North Korea are trying to get the best out of the situation — President Trump looking for a Nobel Prize for Peace and the North Korean president recognition as a world leader, he said.