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Pakistani scientist claims the makings of A-bombs

Pakistan's top nuclear scientist said in an interview published Thursday that his country could now enrich uranium and could produce its own atomic bomb if necessary.

''Pakistan has broken the Western countries' monopoly on the enrichment of uranium,'' Abdul Qadir Khan told the Urdu-language daily Nawa-i-Waqt.

Mr. Khan was tried last year by an Amsterdam court for attempting to steal uranium enrichment secrets from a research center in the Netherlands where he once worked. Khan, who denied the charges, was convicted in absentia of attempted espionage and sentenced to a four-year jail term.

Pakistan is not a signatory to the nuclear nonproliferation treaty and has long been eager to obtain its own uranium enrichment facilities, leading to suspicions it wanted to produce an atomic bombs.

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