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Detained doctor released

Lahore, Nov. 19 (Reuters): A prominent Pakistani doctor released early today after almost a month in detention said he was questioned by FBI and CIA agents about helping Osama bin Laden’s al Qaida network make chemical and nuclear weapons.

“The allegations were that I had contacts with al Qaida and assisted them in manufacturing chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons,” orthopaedic surgeon Amir Aziz said a few hours after his release in Lahore. Aziz was taken into custody on October 21 by local intelligence agents accompanied, according to his brothers, by FBI agents. Aziz said Pakistani intelligence officials, FBI men and CIA agents all took part in his interrogation.

“They wanted to know what are their (al Qaida’s) intentions and designs,” Aziz said. “Thank God that my name has been cleared from all the allegations.” Aziz said he had been working in Afghanistan since 1979 to provide medical and humanitarian aid to Afghans but denied visiting the war-torn country after September 11, 2001.

He denied reports that he had treated some senior al Qaida and Taliban officials. “I have just treated patients without condition of religion, faith, race or colour,” Aziz said. The government had refused to reveal his whereabouts, although interior minister Moinuddin Haider said Aziz was being held on information from al Qaida suspects interrogated in the United States.

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