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Pakistani Islamists Demand Release of  Nuclear Scientist


Pakistani Islamists are calling for the release of a scientist regarded as the father of Pakistan's atomic bomb, on the 10th anniversary of the country's first nuclear tests.

Abdul Qadeer Khan has been under house arrest in Islamabad since 2004, after he admitted to passing nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

Wednesday, more than 40 Islamists gathered outside Khan's home, calling for his release and chanting slogans against President Pervez Musharraf. Authorities barred protesters from meeting with Khan.

The demonstration took place as Pakistan marks 10 years since it detonated nuclear devices,on May 28, 1998, in response to nuclear tests by neighbor and longtime rival, India.

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry Wednesday released a statement saying the test marked an historic day in the nation's quest for security. The ministry says Pakistan has taken its responsibilities as a nuclear weapon state seriously, with a command and control system for its nuclear weapons.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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