Abdul Qadeer Khan, the scientist who helped Pakistan develop nuclear weapons and allegedly leaked atomic secrets to North Korea, Iran and Libya, was freed from years of de facto house arrest Friday by a high court ruling.
A smiling Khan emerged from his house and addressed reporters face-to-face for the first time since 2004 but indicated he would not be talking about Pakistan's secretive atomic program or about who was involved in leaking its secrets around the world.
"We don't want to talk about the past things," he said as the guards who have enforced his long isolation stood aside for a throng of TV crews and journalists.
Khan, the architect of Pakistan's nuclear program, took sole responsibility in 2004 for leaking the nuclear secrets but was immediately pardoned by former President Pervez Musharraf and placed under de facto house arrest. The government insists neither it nor the Pakistani military was aware of his activities.
The 72-year-old scientist, who has suffered a string of illnesses, began agitating for an end to the restrictions after last year's ouster of Musharraf. Over the past year, he has been allowed to occasionally meet friends outside his house and has often spoken to reporters over the phone.