By Philip Blenkinsop
MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) - Pakistan's foreign minister said Sunday he knew the names of "lots of Europeans" involved in the illicit transfer of secrets to countries seeking to develop nuclear weapons.
"Why is there this unhealthy focus on Pakistan? What about others?" Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri told delegates at a security conference in the German city of Munich.
"I know the names. I don't want to spill them... names given to us by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), by Iran. There are lots of Europeans involved, but there seems to be a focus on Pakistan," he said.
In a televised confession, Pakistan's top nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan said Wednesday he had acted independently in leaking secrets as head of the country's nuclear program from the 1970s.
The next day, the country's military president, Pervez Musharraf, pardoned the man revered as the father of Pakistan's atomic bomb, while rebuffing calls for an independent inquiry into the military's role.
Many analysts say Khan could not have acted without the knowledge of the military.
Kasuri said it was important to stress that the leaks had not been recent and were mainly during Pakistan's early days of nuclear development when few people were aware of the project.
"Yes our program was covert. Because it was covert there was a danger of this sort of thing," he said.
Khan had been removed when initial intelligence reports indicated smoke even if "fire had not been discovered." Moreover, while Pakistan had not joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it was committed to fulfilling the non-proliferation requirements, Kasuri said.
It was, he said, not in Pakistan's interests to share its nuclear secrets with others.
Many Pakistanis nevertheless believe Musharraf and top military officers were complicit in the illicit nuclear transfers to Iran, Libya and North Korea.
"It is not something that is in our interests... There has to be a motive, but there was none whatsoever," Kasuri said.
He also said the uranium enrichment technology which Khan appeared to have provided was only part of the know-how required to make nuclear weapons.
"Our nuclear experts tell me you need about 24 different technologies or processes to make nuclear weapons and then to deliver them. Only one of them is the uranium-enrichment process," Kasuri said.