Equipment for the nuclear bomb programs in Pakistan, Libya and Iran was purchased from the same companies in Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE, Abu Dhabi and Singapore, says the father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb, Abdul Qadeer Khan. “Be it Libya, Iran or Pakistan, the same suppliers were responsible for providing the material through the same third party in Dubai” – a company run by Sri Lankan Muslims, he said. Another company in Dubai manufactured parts for Libya.
As for Pakistan’s support of Iran’s nuclear bomb program, “Since Iran was an important Muslim country, we wished Iran to acquire this technology,” he said. “If Iran succeeds in acquiring nuclear technology, we will be a strong bloc in the region to counter international pressure.”
Khan provided details of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons during Aaj News Television’s “Islamabad Tonight” program. While details were disputed, he largely confirmed what U.S. intelligence agencies had been leaking for decades.
Pakistan’s nuclear weapon program began in 1975, following India’s nuclear tests in 1974, with an annual budget of $20-25 million. The first centrifugal enrichment of uranium was achieved in 1978 and reached 90% by 1983. The first weapon, which required a week to ready for detonation, was ready in late 1984. The Pakistan government refused to test the weapon then because it might have deflected U.S. support for the conflict in Afghanistan.
A weapons delivery program was started in 1981 with a 290 km. version of China’s M11 ballistic missile, but the range wasn’t long enough to hit all the major cities in India. Additional missile purchase from North Korea later provided longer-range ballistic missiles as well as surface-to-air missiles.
Khan denied any transfer of nuclear technology to North Korea in exchange for the missile technology. But later in the interview, he said that “maybe” centrifuges were shipped from Pakistan to North Korea.