WASHINGTON - He is a national hero in Pakistan and the father of that country's atomic bomb. But to the U.S. government, A.G. Khan represents something much different.
For years, Khan ran an illicit nuclear proliferation network that helped rogue regimes work towards acquiring the bomb.
Khan's network provided nuclear materials and know-how to North Korea, Libya and Iran, among others. Khan was detained in late 2003 by Pakistani authorities and publicly admitted his role in the illegal network.
He was pardoned by then-Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf and placed under house arrest. But now a Pakistani court has ruled that Khan is a free man and should be permitted to travel freely with no restrictions.
Khan is hailing the decision.
"It is excellent," he said. "I think that it is very heart warming and very gratifying. And I think the people who have been involved in playing mischief with me they will now get the message and they will get of my back and then will allow me to live a peaceful, private life as a private citizen."
It is unclear whether Pakistani authorities will abide by the court's decision, and they are sure to continue to monitor Khan, at least covertly.
U.S. authorities, meanwhile, are fearing the wrath of Khan. They still see him as a serious nuclear proliferation risk.