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Pakistani scientist claims the makings of A-bombs

Pakistan's top nuclear scientist said in an interview published Thursday that his country could now enrich uranium and could produce its own atomic bomb if necessary.

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''Pakistan has broken the Western countries' monopoly on the enrichment of uranium,'' Abdul Qadir Khan told the Urdu-language daily Nawa-i-Waqt.

Mr. Khan was tried last year by an Amsterdam court for attempting to steal uranium enrichment secrets from a research center in the Netherlands where he once worked. Khan, who denied the charges, was convicted in absentia of attempted espionage and sentenced to a four-year jail term.

Pakistan is not a signatory to the nuclear nonproliferation treaty and has long been eager to obtain its own uranium enrichment facilities, leading to suspicions it wanted to produce an atomic bombs.

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