News of the release of AQ Khan from house arrest may have been premature.
Days after the Foreign Ministry “called”:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/07/world/asia/07khan.html the Khan saga a “closed chapter,” _Dawn_ (of Karachi) “reports”:http://www.dawn.com/2009/02/09/top2.htm that the Pakistani government is weighing an appeal of his release.
The government appears to be backing out of an ill-considered deal with Khan, whose “terms”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/08/AR2009020801964.html have now reached the papers:
Under an agreement reached among Khan’s lawyers, the judge who ordered him released and the government, officials said, the Pakistani Interior Ministry will limit and monitor Khan’s telephone calls, visitors and activities. The ministry will also prohibit his travel outside the country.
Until now, these terms were a “secret”:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/07/world/asia/07khan.html, which allowed Khan to step before the news cameras to claim total vindication.
It’s hard to know what the good folks in Islamabad were thinking. Just the other week, President Zardari was “openly hitting up the U.S. for a new aid package”:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/27/AR2009012702675.html. Fine timing…
The Pakistani government is in constant crisis mode, attempting to sate each angry constituency (domestic and foreign) as it complains. With foreign reserves on empty, thawing relations with India back on ice, and an increasing loss of control of the hinterland the Zardari government’s long (or even medium) term viability is very much an open question.