Published on 18 May 2013 | over 4 years ago
On 9 October 2006, with 20 minutes warning, North Korea notified China that it was about to detonate its first nuclear device.
China’s leadership sent an emergency alert to the White House, where President George W Bush got word that a North Korean test was imminent. It was a glaring defeat of efforts to control the spread of nuclear weapons technology.
"We must act on every lead. We will find the middlemen, the suppliers and the buyers. Our message to proliferators must be consistent and it must be clear: we will find you, and we’re not going to rest until you are stopped," Bush declared.
But the spread of technology had not been stopped, and it was not just North Korea - Iran, and Libya had also mastered the ability to enrich uranium, a critical step for any country that might want to manufacture nuclear weapons.
So, how did that happen? In 2004, the US announced that intelligence services had established the existence of a vast underground network of suppliers of nuclear technology and skills. It was, they alleged, led by Abdul Qadeer Khan, also known as the 'father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb'.
Overnight, AQ Khan became one of the most wanted men in the world.
This week, Talk to Al Jazeera sits down with AQ Khan, the former head of Pakistan's nuclear programme. to discuss allegations that he gave nuclear secrets to North Korea, Iran and Libya. We also talk about his political ambitions, and his visions for the future of Pakistan.
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