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Pakistan lifts restrictions on disgraced nuke scientist

  • Story Highlights
  • A.Q. Khan says Pakistani court has lifted all restrictions on his movements
  • Nuclear scientist was released from house arrest earlier this year
  • Khan admitted spreading nuclear technology to Iran, North Korea, and Libya
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- A Pakistani court has lifted restrictions on A.Q. Khan -- a Pakistani scientist who admitted to spreading nuclear technology to Iran, North Korea, and Libya -- Khan and his lawyer told CNN Friday.

A.Q. Khan was the brains behind Pakistan's nuclear bomb.

A.Q. Khan was the brains behind Pakistan's nuclear bomb.

"I am very happy with the decision of the court, but I have not yet received the written order," Khan said. "But from what my lawyer has informed me, I am very happy."

Khan was pardoned by the Pakistani government after his admission in 2004. He was released from house arrest in February of this year.

Pakistan's government plans to challenge the interim order from the Lahore High Court, Pakistan's Attorney General Sardar Latif Khankhosa said. The order calls on Pakistan's government, law enforcement and other authorities to lift any restrictions on Khan's movements, Khan's attorney Ali Zafer said.

Khan and the government have a written agreement in which Khan agreed to certain constraints in return for his release from house arrest earlier this year, Khankhosa said.

The constraints were put in place out of concern for his safety, the attorney general said.

But Khan said under the agreement, the government was supposed to allow him to move freely if he did not speak to the media.

"It was the government that didn't abide by the agreement," he told CNN.

His lawyer said he wants the government to explain why it violated a previous order that declared Khan "a free man." Zafer said the hearing on the issue has been adjourned until next Friday.

Pakistan's handling of Khan has rankled relations with the United States. The United States expressed its disappointment with Pakistan's decision to release Khan from house arrest.

"We believe he (Khan) remains a potential proliferation risk," U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood said in February. "We will continue to have discussions with the Pakistani government about A.Q. Khan and we are going to continue to follow this issue very closely."

The United States is talking to Pakistan about how to keep track of Khan, who the State Department says spearheaded an "extensive international network for the proliferation of nuclear equipment and know-how" that provided "one-stop shopping" for countries seeking to develop nuclear weapons" up until the year 2000.

Iran and Libya received centrifuge components, centrifuges, and designs from Khan and his associates, and the United States believes the network "provided centrifuge designs, equipment, and technology to North Korea." The State Department said Khan "provided Libya with nuclear weapon designs."

"Many of Dr. Khan's associates are either in custody, being prosecuted, or have been convicted of crimes," the State Department said.

"While we believe the A.Q. Khan network is no longer operating, countries should remain vigilant to ensure that Khan network associates, or others seeking to pursue similar proliferation activities, will not become a future source for sensitive nuclear information or equipment."

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