Pakistani govt steps up AQ Khan’s security

ISLAMABAD (TIP): Pakistan’s government has increased security of the father of the country’s nuclear programme Abdul Qadeer Khan amid fears of an Abbottabad-type raid which killed Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden. Khan’s posh Islamabad’s house was already under heavy security but with the recent extraordinary measures, it has almost increased three times. According to media reports, Khan is now accorded protocol almost equal to the Pakistan prime minister when he travels. Khan has confirmed the increase in the security personnel. “Although, he was told that deployment had been carried out keeping in view the country’s situation but sources privy to the decision confided that it was intended to avert any Abbottabadtype raid as he has been on the US radar due to his alleged involvement in nuclear proliferation,” a Pakistan’s daily quoted an official saying. “A repeat of Abbottabad-like incident would be a national shame for us,” the official said. Earlier there were 40 personnel and two colonel-rank officers assigned on his security which has been increased to 120 personnel and four officers.

A convoy of 10 vehicles escorts Dr Khan’s bulletproof jeep when he travels within Islamabad. “No European and American is allowed to live in the surroundings of Khan’s residence but Arab nationals can rent an accommodation in the vicinity after securing security clearance from the interior ministry,” an official source said to the media. Other than police, Kahuta Research Laboratory’s rapid response force as well as elite force has also been deployed to safeguard Khan in addition to intelligence officials. When Khan travels within Islamabad, a police vehicle leads the convoy followed by two jeeps of rapid response force and one vehicle of elite force. One vehicle of rapid response force runs parallel on the left side of Dr Khan’s jeep, two such vehicles with jammers installed on the rear side followed by yet another rapid response force vehicle, two double-cabins of police and one vehicle carrying intelligence staff at the tail end of the convoy. According to media report, intelligence staff conducts a check before Khan reaches any destination and then it is taken over by the police deployed for his security. The security staff is also equipped with assault rifles. A neighbouring house has been rented out to accommodate the staff.

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