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Pakistan Detains Scientist for Possible Transfer of Nuclear Information to Iran

Authorities in Pakistan have detained a nuclear scientist who is being questioned about possible links to the transfer of nuclear-related information to Iran.

Reports in the Pakistani media say the detained scientist was taken into custody at his residence in the garrison town of Rawalpindi on Sunday night.

Family members and colleagues are quoted as saying they believe that the scientist Farooq Mehmood has been seized for interrogation.

Mr. Farooq is a director of Pakistan's prestigious nuclear facility, Kahuta Research Laboratories (KRL), which developed the country's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

A Pakistan foreign ministry statement issued Wednesday has indirectly confirmed the detention of the nuclear scientist, saying that people associated with the country's sensitive programs are governed by stringent personnel rules.

The statement says this is a normal practice, especially in nuclear weapon states. It again rejected as baseless, allegations that Pakistan helped Iran develop its nuclear program.

The detention of Mr. Farooq comes after Iranian revelations to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Tehran received nuclear-related information from people of Pakistani origin.

In November 2001, Pakistan detained another of its nuclear scientists for his alleged links to al-Qaida terror network, but released him after months of interrogation.