Disgraced scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, who has been under house arrest here for the past four years for allegedly proliferating Pakistan's nuclear secrets, underwent a medical examination Friday.
The medical examination that was conducted in a heavily guarded guesthouse in the southern port city of Karachi "could be a government move to improve its image", Dawn reported Saturday, quoting a source.
There has, however, been no official word on the issue.
"If needed, the source added, the scientist could be taken in a couple of days for clinical tests to the Aga Khan University Hospital, where he was operated upon for prostate cancer about a year ago," the newspaper added.
"After the information that the scientist was in the city, people from relevant quarters as well as media men gathered at a private university hospital on Friday. However, Dr Qadeer was not brought to the hospital," Dawn quoted a source at the hospital as saying.
"The government had been under pressure from political figures and other sections of the society for imposing restrictions on the movement of Dr Qadeer" it quoted another source as saying.
"The latest shifting of the scientist to Karachi could be a government move to improve its image," Dawn pointed out.
"At a time when judicial activism was being valued and the nation was close to general and presidential elections, the government needed some 'face saving' and if things went in the right direction, the government was likely to delay the sending of Qadeer to Islamabad," Dawn said.
Khan has been charged with proliferating Pakistan's nuclear hardware and technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea. He publicly confessed to his "crime" after which Musharraf "pardoned" him but ordered his incarceration.
The US has been repeatedly asking for access to Khan to unravel details of the network he had built up but Musharraf has been steadfastly refusing permission for this.
Khan's fate has also given rise to a homily: "In India, they made their missile man (A.P.J. Abdul Kalam) the president. In Pakistan, we sent our missile man to jail."