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Timeline: Pakistan's nuclear program

Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear program, has admitted sharing nuclear secrets with other nations.
Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear program, has admitted sharing nuclear secrets with other nations.

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (Reuters) -- Here is a chronology of major events in Pakistan's nuclear program:

1955: Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission set up to promote peaceful uses of atomic energy.

1972: Pakistan sets up first nuclear power station with Canadian help.

1974: Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutt vows Pakistan will "eat grass" if necessary to develop nuclear weapons after India explodes its first nuclear device.

1976: Canada ends nuclear ties with Pakistan in a dispute over non-proliferation safeguards.

1976: Pakistan sets up "Kahuta Research Laboratories" near Islamabad to establish a uranium enrichment plant to seek nuclear capability.

1979: The United States cuts off all military and fresh economic aid to Pakistan after refusing to accept assurances that its nuclear program is purely peaceful.

1980: Pakistan says it has joined ranks of a dozen countries able to fabricate its own nuclear fuel based on uranium available in the country.

1982: The United States lifts embargo on resumption of economic and military aid to Pakistan.

1983: Dutch court sentences A.Q. Khan to four years' jail after he is convicted in absentia of nuclear espionage. Decision is later overturned on a technicality. Khan denies allegations that he stole plans for uranium enrichment centrifuges from URENCO, a British-Dutch-German consortium he worked for in Holland in the 1970s.

1986: Pakistan and Iran sign nuclear cooperation agreement after visit by Khan.

1989: Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Munir Ahmad Khan says a nuclear deal with China in November for a 300-megawatt nuclear plant had broken an international embargo against Pakistan.

August, 1990: Two months after Iraq invades Kuwait, intermediary claiming to represent A.Q. Khan meets Iraqi intelligence and proposes helping establish a project to enrich uranium and build a nuclear weapon. Pakistan later termed the offer a fraud.

October, 1990: The United States stops all military and fresh economic aid to Pakistan over suspicions that its nuclear program is weapons-oriented.

1991: Pakistan Army chief, Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg, tells U.S. ambassador he is discussing nuclear and conventional military cooperation with Iranian army.

1992: U.S. officials say A.Q. Khan initiates talks with North Korea to obtain intermediate-range ballistic missiles for Pakistan in return for gas centrifuge designs and other assistance to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.

1996: India tests Prithvi II missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Pakistan says missile designed to attack its cities.

April, 1998: Pakistan test-fires 937-mile range Ghauri missile, which it says can carry nuclear warheads and is meant to deter India.

May, 1998: India conducts five nuclear tests. Pakistan expresses alarm and then stuns the world by conducting its first nuclear bomb tests, six in all. President Clinton says United States is forced by law to impose sanctions on both countries.

2001: Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf removes A.Q. Khan as head of Pakistan's nuclear programs and names him as scientific adviser to the president.

2002: India and Pakistan close to war after attack on parliament in New Delhi blamed on Pakistani-based militants.

December, 2003: Pakistan says it questioning nuclear scientists, including A.Q. Khan, over allegations of proliferation. It says it acting on information from Iran and Libya passed on by the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency.

January, 2004: Probe leads to removal of A.Q. Khan as adviser to prime minister.

February 2, 2004: Senior military official says Khan makes statement confessing to supplying designs, hardware and materials used to make enriched uranium for atomic bombs to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

February 4, 2004: Khan appears on state television to make personal apology to the nation for endangering national security by leaking nuclear secrets abroad.



Copyright 2004 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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