ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Pakistan has expanded an investigation of its premier nuclear weapons laboratory, detaining as many as seven scientists and administrators amid allegations that sensitive technology may have spread to countries such as Iran, North Korea and Libya, officials said Sunday.
Pakistan has strongly denied any official involvement in sharing technology with those countries, but has acknowledged that individual scientists acting on their own may have leaked information.
Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said that over the past few days five to seven personnel at the Khan Research Laboratories were taken in for questioning. But he said the detained men were not "necessarily involved in something or have allegations against them."
Among the detained was Islam-ul Haq, a director at the laboratory, who was picked up Saturday as he was dining at the residence of the father of Pakistan's nuclear program, Abdul Qadeer Khan.
The laboratory is named after Khan, a national hero for leading Pakistan to its underground test of the Islamic world's first nuclear bomb in 1998. The bomb was designed as a deterrent to Pakistan's nuclear-armed neighbor, India. Haq is Khan's principal staff officer.
This month, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said American officials have presented evidence to Pakistan's leaders of Pakistani involvement in the spread of nuclear weapons technology.
The arrest Jan. 2 of South African-based businessman Asher Karni at a Denver airport, accused of smuggling nuclear bomb triggers to Pakistan, deepened suspicions of the country's involvement in the nuclear black market.
The New York Times also reported that sophisticated centrifuge design technology used to enrich uranium had been passed to Libya even after a pledge by President Gen. Pervez Musharraf to rein in Pakistani scientists. Pakistan dismissed the allegation as "absolutely false."7 in al-Qaida detained
KARACHI, Pakistan - Pakistani agents seized seven suspected al-Qaida militants and a weapons cache in a raid on an apartment complex in Karachi on Sunday, a day after Pakistan vowed to renew its fight against terrorism.
Police found five hand grenades, four handguns, ammunition and maps of Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan, the Associated Press reported, quoting an intelligence officer who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The suspects included two Egyptian and three Afghan men and two Arab women, the officer said. Police did not identify them or say what rank they held in Osama bin Laden's organization.