ISLAMABAD - The senators Wednesday called for a thorough probe about the latest revelations made by former military ruler General (retd) Pervez Mushrraf in a TV interview that nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan knelt before him after some evidence surfaced that the former was involved in nuclear proliferation to a foreign country.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Saleem Zia first raising the issue on the floor of the Senate called the statement of General Musharraf as damaging and demanded a thorough probe into the matter.

Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani condemned the statement and pointed out the timing of the statement what he said that Musharraf’s remarks have come after the US President Donald Trump announced its plan for Afghanistan, while questioning Pakistan’s efforts on war on terror.

The statement should be seen in the context and its timing is very important, he said. Former president Pervez Musharraf in his interview said that the then CIA chief during his visit to the US showed him “irrefutable evidence” against Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, known as “the father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme”, for his alleged involvement in a deal of nuclear proliferation to Iran.

Dr AQ Khan knelt before me, cried and asked for forgiveness when he was told about the evidence, Musharraf said.

Taking part in a discussion on it, PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the statement of Musharraf had again opened up the wounds and his statement gave credence to calls for independent inquiry into nuclear proliferation.

The statement only encourage the international community to renew its call for inquiry into nuclear proliferation and decline nuclear cooperation with Pakistan, he viewed.

Babar said that everyone knew that AQ Khan could not have taken huge centrifuge machines and other nuclear materials on his shoulders without being noticed.

This feat could not have been performed by one individual without team work, he said.

Babar added that former president through this statement had not served Pakistan as his interview had lent added force to the charges of proliferation against Pakistan.

“Musharraf has opened up a Pandora’s box,” the senator said.

Babar said that it gravely undermined Pakistan’s case for equal treatment at par with India in the wake of US’s nuclear technology agreement with the latter. Now the world will say that proliferators of nuclear weapons cannot be trusted even with cooperation in peaceful nuclear technology.

He called for holding an inquiry and said, “Because the world will not spare them otherwise.”

Former interior minister Rehman Malik called for summoning in-camera session of the house what he said that he had details who were involved in this nuclear deal.

“I had investigated the matter and interacted with Dr AQ Khan and the military establishment and I will be able to give some documents to the house in an in-camera session,” he said.

“What was done and who pocketed the money in the deal,” Malik added.

The chairman said the Committee of the Whole House already formed would look into the matter.

On the international day of enforced disappearances on August 30, the chairman Senate took up the issue and said, “I have to say this with sorrow that the parliament had failed to resolve the issue of missing persons.”

He said that the parliament and judiciary had failed to cut to size the “state within the state” and address the phenomenon of enforced disappearances and this was a very unfortunate situation.

Earlier, Senator Farhatullah Babar expressed grave concern that citizens continued to vanish without a trace and called for the implementation of the December 2016 report of the Senate Committee of the Whole.

 He said that till today not a single person of any state institution had been held to account for this crime against the law, the Constitution and human rights.

The impunity with which the perpetrators of enforced disappearance get away with is frightening and bodes ill for the federation, he said.

Babar said that the inability of the state to control agencies and its apathy towards the victims' and their families was causing a huge chasm between the state and the society thus creating space, which the extremists were eager to fill.

He said that the misuse of the Cyber Crimes Law by the state had further aggravated the issue.

Bloggers and journalists who venture to articulate alternative narratives of national security were made to disappear, while the militants and extremist organisations freely used to propagate hate speeches and promote their narrative, Babar said and called for criminalising enforced disappearances.