July 8, 2008



JULY 08, 2008


July 6, 2008


Filed under: MILITARY RULE,NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 11:56 pm
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JULY 07, 2008

July 5, 2008


Filed under: MILITARY RULE,NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 9:30 pm
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Pakistan ‘knew of nuclear flight’

Disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist AQ Khan (undated file photo)
It was a North Korean plane, and the army had complete knowledge about it and the equipment
AQ Khan

Disgraced scientist AQ Khan has said that Pakistan transported nuclear material to North Korea with the full knowledge of the country’s army.

In media interviews, he said that the army supervised a flight of centrifuges to Pyongyang in 2000.

At the time, the current President Pervez Musharraf was head of the army.

He has repeatedly stated that no-one apart from Dr Khan had any knowledge of the nuclear transportations which caused international concern.

Dr Khan said that uranium enrichment equipment was sent in a North Korean plane loaded under the supervision of Pakistani security officials.

‘Complete knowledge’

The BBC’s Barbara Plett, in Islamabad, says that Dr Khan’s latest claims contradict a public confession he made in 2004 that he was solely responsible for exporting nuclear technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya.

Our correspondent says that the comments are the most controversial accusations made by Dr Khan since he recently began defending himself in statements to the media.

His remarks also contradict the oft-stated line of the Pakistani government that neither it nor the army had any knowledge of the exports.

Pakistan-made Shaheen 1 missile

AQ Khan has been at the forefront of developing Pakistan’s nuclear capacity

“It was a North Korean plane, and the army had complete knowledge about it and the equipment,” Dr Khan said.

Pakistan’s newly-elected government has relaxed restrictions on Mr Khan, who was put under house arrest in 2004 by the then military leader, President Musharraf.

He is still detained but has begun speaking to the media by telephone.

He said the army must have been aware of the centrifuges exports since it supervised all defence consignments and special flights.

‘Extremely embarrassing’

Dr Khan also said the president must have known about the shipment, because he had written about it in his memoirs.

But when pressed he stopped short of directly implicating Mr Musharraf, saying he did not know who specifically was responsible.

The allegations are highly controversial, correspondents say, and could prove extremely embarrassing for the army.

Pervez Musharraf

President Musharraf argues that only AQ Khan knew of the nuclear transfers

President Musharraf’s spokesman, Rashid Qureshi, dismissed Dr Khan’s claims.

“I can say with full confidence that it is all lies and false statements,” he said.

Other government departments – including the army and foreign ministry – declined to comment on Friday.

The retired scientist has spoken increasingly to the media since a new government was elected in Pakistan earlier this year.

When asked why he had taken sole responsibility for the nuclear scandal in 2004, Dr Khan said he had been persuaded that it was in the national interest.

In return, he said, he had been promised complete freedom, but “those promises were not honoured”.

Dr Khan also said that he travelled to North Korea in 1999 with a Pakistani general to purchase shoulder-launched missiles.

His wife this week went to the Islamabad High Court in a bid to end restrictions on her husband’s movements.

Dr Khan was pardoned by President Musharraf after admitting illegally transferring nuclear secrets to other countries including Libya, Iran and North Korea.

But in recent weeks he has retracted his confession.

June 11, 2008

Filed under: FOREIGN RELATIONS,MILITARY RULE,NEW GOVERNMENT AFTER MARCH 24-2008 — civilsocietypakistan @ 1:37 am
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JUNE 11, 2008

June 8, 2008

Filed under: MILITARY RULE — civilsocietypakistan @ 6:21 pm
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JUNE 08, 2008

May 31, 2008

‘Why should I talk to the IAEA?’ A.Q.KHAN


The following are extracts from an telephone interview conducted yesterday by the Guardian’s Pakistan correspondent, Declan Walsh, with the father of the country’s nuclear weapons programme, Abdul Qadeer Khan

Four years ago you made a televised confession offering your “deepest regrets and unqualified apologies” for selling nuclear technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya. Was it genuine?

“I never was selling. This is the western garbage that uses the word selling. I never sold anything to anyone. I never sold anything and I never got any money. Nobody has proved this and nobody can prove it.

Was your confession made of your own free will?

“It was not of my own free will. It was handed into my hand.”

So why did you agree to go along with it?

“Oh, in the national interest I guess. And the promises which were made.”

What promises?

“Freedom, rehabilitation, all these things.”

Are you happy that you went along with it?

“No, not now. I was hand-tied. I think it was a mistake. At that time things were not so clear and you couldn’t see that people could go back on their words and renege their promises.

Do you hold President Pervez Musharraf personally responsible for this?

One person holds the reins, the others follow … There are always self-seekers and sycophants and more lies. This goes on.

President Musharraf might say that American evidence forced him to act against you?

The Americans presented to the whole world the proof against Iraq. And you know what it was. And now about Iran, and so it goes on. It’s unbelievable that Bush and Colin Powell and Dick Cheney and Condolleezza Rice are bringing lies, lies, lies, bringing photos and false documents … it can happen everywhere.

Do you feel any responsibility for the nuclear programmes in North Korea, Libya or Iran?

No … you must have read that the Swiss president destroyed papers that included weapons blueprints. [That shows that] the western countries have all those blueprints and technology and papers and know-how. So they were supplying to everyone. They were supplying to us, they were supplying to them. The only thing is that they were using the same route as we were using.

Which route was that?

Dubai. It was a free port. We were importing all our things from Dubai and all the other countries were importing from Dubai.

Some people say you were running a “nuclear supermarket”, Time magazine called you a “merchant of menace”. How do you feel about these terms?

I don’t care. It doesn’t bother me at all. They don’t like our God, they don’t like our prophet, they don’t like our holy book, the Qur’an. So how could they like me?

… I have come to realise that one person writes – sorry to use the word – a shitpile and everyone picks up and quotes him whether it is true or not. It is meant for the western public, the western media, who are mostly totally ignorant of the facts here. [they say that] my house is a huge white villa, I have 43 villas here, I have so many bank accounts. Nobody could ever prove anything. [They say that] I had a very huge $10m hotel in Timbuktu. You should have gone and seen – it was an eight-room mud brick house where the poor people reside.

So you are not a rich man?
Never was, never will be.


The IAEA wants to send its investigators to speak with you. Would you speak to them?

Why should I talk to them? I am under no obligation. We are not signatory to NPT [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty]. I have not violated any international laws. So why should I talk to them?

So even if it were possible, you wouldn’t?

Why should I? This is my internal affair and my country’s affair – why should I talk to them?

They say they want to make sure no other country can illegally acquire the bomb.

Why don’t you talk about Israel, why don’t you talk about South Africa. Why did you supply and help South Africa to manufacture six bombs … this is a discriminatory approach. That is wrong with us and it should be wrong with them also.


There’s been a lot of speculation that you are keeping an “insurance policy” — documents that shows links between nuclear smuggling and the Pakistani military – with your daughter in London. Are you?

No such thing happened. MI6 has spoken to my daughter, they have been to her house. I did not keep any official paper in my house or anywhere. I know it’s an official secret. … When I left I had a few ballpoints and a small table calendar and nothing else.


What did you do for the celebrations to mark 10 years since Pakistan became a nuclear power?

I stayed at home. I saw on the TV what was going on, I saw on the newspapers. Some people sent flowers, some people phoned and congratulated.

How did you feel?

Two days are important in the history of Pakistan – the 14th of August, when Pakistan was created, and this 28th May, when at least Pakistan got the capacity of protecting itself against aggression and threats and blackmailing. It was a very big day. And since you have been a part of it, you feel proud of being such an historical movement.

What has Pakistan gained from having the bomb?

Peace. No attacks from India in the past 36 years. Otherwise there might have been a war in Kashmir, there might have been a war in Punjab … that has given something, some sense of security to the country.

How has it defined Pakistan’s relationship with the west. You said in the past the west was hostile to Islam. So what has it done?

You know very well the west never likes any country to be a bit independent, whether it is making a bomb, or whether it is financial position and stuff. They want to keep them under thumb. It is not giving any threat to anyone … We have to look after our interests as the western countries look after their interests.


Where are you speaking from?

I am inside my house. I’m in the living room. I can see the guards. You can see them, they are all around.

Do you hope your house arrest will be lifted soon?

There’s always hope as long as the world is there. As long as you are living there is always hope. Without hope you can’t survive.

Disgraced atomic scientist disowns confession


· Father of Pakistan’s bomb rejects smuggling claim
· Khan defiant in first talk to western media since 2004

Supporters of Pakistan Muslim League-N party

Supporters of Pakistan Muslim League-N party hold a picture of disgraced nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan as they gather near a replica of Chaghi mountain, where the nuclear tests were conducted. Photograph: Reuters/Faisal Mahmood

For four years Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb, has lived in the shadows, confined to his Islamabad home since a tearful televised confession in which he admitted selling nuclear technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya. But yesterday the 76-year-old scientist returned to the spotlight with a bold new twist: that he had not meant a word of his earlier admission.

In his first western media interview since 2004, Khan said the confession had been forced upon him by President Pervez Musharraf. “It was not of my own free will. It was handed into my hand,” he told the Guardian. More worryingly, he swore never to cooperate with investigators from the International Atomic Energy Agency, despite persistent fears that nuclear technology traded by his accomplices could fall into terrorist hands.

“Why should I talk to them?” he said. “I am under no obligation. We are not a signatory to the NPT [nuclear non-proliferation treaty]. I have not violated international laws.” He said details of his clandestine nuclear supply network were “my internal affair and my country’s affair”.

Despite numerous requests from the IAEA and the US government, Pakistan has refused access to Khan, who is still considered a national hero. A spokesman at the UN watchdog’s headquarters in Vienna declined to respond to his comments.

Until this week Khan had been unseen and largely unheard since his February 2004 appearance on state television, in which he said he had hawked the country’s nuclear know-how abroad. He offered his “deepest regrets and unqualified apologies”. Since then Khan has been confined to his villa below the Margalla Hills in Islamabad, where he lives with his wife, Henny. He was initially subjected to tight restrictions. Telephone calls were monitored, internet access was forbidden and visitors were turned away by soldiers camped at his gate. He was allowed to leave the house in August 2006 only for a cancer operation in Karachi, which was successful.

But as Musharraf’s powers have ebbed over the past year, so have the ties on Khan been loosened. First he was allowed to have lunch with close friends, then last month he gave his first interview from his house arrest to a local Urdu language newspaper. Now he hopes that the newly elected prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, will set him free.

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Link to this audio
Hear Declan Walsh speaking to Abdul Qadeer Khan

“As long as you are living there is always hope,” he said, adding that he would wait for pressing economic and political crises to pass. In reality, he may be waiting for Musharraf to be forced out.

Yesterday the military dismissed speculation, prompted by changes in the army command, that Musharraf was about to quit as president. “A section of press is trying to sensationalise routine functional matters,” said a spokesman.

Khan has emerged as Pakistan celebrates the 10th anniversary of the 1998 test that catapulted the volatile nation into the nuclear club. Speaking by telephone, he displayed the mix of defiant nationalism and religious ardour that has endeared him to many Pakistanis.

Reports that nuclear technology was smuggled abroad were “western rubbish”, he said, and unfavourable accounts of his life were “shit piles”. He brusquely dismissed nicknames such as “the Merchant of Menace” from a Time magazine cover.

“It doesn’t bother me at all. They don’t like our God, they don’t like our prophet, they don’t like our holy book, the Qur’an. So how could they like me?” he said.

He dismissed reports that he owned 43 houses in Islamabad, had many bank accounts and owned a $10m hotel in Timbuktu, Mali. “The journalists should have gone and seen – it was an eight-room mud-brick house where the poor people reside,” he said, referring to the latter. Asked if he was rich he answered: “Never was, never will be.”

International nuclear investigators and the Pakistani government paint a very different picture. In 2005, Musharraf confirmed that Khan had supplied North Korea with centrifuges used to enrich uranium. This week the IAEA board received further confirmation linking Pakistan with Iran’s controversial nuclear programme.

Khan said yesterday that nuclear technology was freely available in the west to Iran or North Korea. “They were supplying to us, they were supplying to them … [to] anyone who could pay,” he said.

But for all his defiant talk, one subject remains out of bounds for Khan. Supporters claim he was made a scapegoat for Pakistani generals involved in nuclear trading. Khan refuses to discuss the issue. “I don’t want to talk about it. Those things are to forget about,” he said.

He denied speculation he had hidden evidence of military collusion with his daughter, Dina, who lives in London. “MI6 has spoken to my daughter, they have been to her house. I did not keep any official papers in my house or anywhere,” he said.

Khan directed Pakistan’s nuclear enrichment programme for 25 years. Born in pre-partition India – his family moved to Pakistan after 1947 – his passion for developing a nuclear bomb was driven by hatred of his country of birth.

Khan is worshipped as a hero at home, but the former CIA director George Tenet described him as “at least as dangerous as Osama bin Laden”, and fears of the damage wreaked by his smuggling network were realised when North Korea exploded a nuclear device in October 2006.

In Musharraf’s 2006 memoir, he said he sacked Khan after learning that he was “up to mischief”.

Khan blames this on the “self-seekers and sycophants” around Musharraf, who had allowed Pakistan to become a “banana republic”.


The quest for a Pakistani nuclear bomb was launched by Benazir Bhutto’s father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, in 1972. “You men here will make it for me and for Pakistan,” he told a secret meeting of scientists and generals. Bhutto’s motive was to counter India’s more developed programme. His secret asset was metallurgist AQ Khan who, while working in a Dutch nuclear laboratory, smuggled secrets home. Khan returned to head the programme in 1976. Pakistan exploded its first nuclear device in 1998. The army has an estimated 50 nuclear warheads.

May 29, 2008

A candid view


MAY 29, 2008


SENATOR Russ Feingold, one of the several US lawmakers currently visiting Pakistan, has not minced his words while making a plea for the restoration of deposed judges, unlike most other US public representatives and administration officials, who have been hedging with one caveat or the other. His argument is unassailable: their reinstatement would give the message to the outside world that in Pakistan the rule of law holds supreme, and secondly, it has the force of an overwhelming majority of the people’s wishes. While asserting that he was not siding with any particular political party, he believed that it was not necessary to link the sacked judges’ return to the Bench with other matters, an obvious reference to the constitutional package that the PPP was proposing. One hopes that his plain speaking would clinch the issue that has proved the main sticking point in forging real understanding between the PPP and the PML-N, and has compelled the latter to quit the government.
The other concern Senator Feingold (Democrat), who serves on the Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, expressed, according to the Chicago Tribune, was about the Bush administration’s flawed policy of putting all its eggs in one basket by basing its policy on the relationship with President Musharraf. One cannot more agree with him on this score, because for relations between states to be truly cooperative the basic requirement is public support of policies from either side. And as the US stance on meeting the menace of terrorism is in conflict with the commonsense understanding of Pakistanis, the Senator would find it quite difficult to turn the wave of anti-Americanism here.
Pakistanis are averse to the blind use of force against their compatriots and unreservedly prefer a peaceful, negotiated approach to the problem. Besides, the US and its NATO allies are seen, and rightly so, as occupiers of Afghanistan; so they should not expect bonhomie from the people of Pakistan.

May 27, 2008

Meeting Pakistan’s most feared militant – (Feared because tribal women and children have been killed by pakistan and US armies

Filed under: DOMESTIC,FOREIGN RELATIONS,MILITARY RULE — civilsocietypakistan @ 10:38 pm
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MAY 23, 2008

Baitullah Mehsud, who heads the loose grouping of militants known as the Pakistan Taleban, has given a rare press conference to invited journalists. They included the BBC’s Syed Shoaib Hasan.

Taleban militants in Pakistan's Waziristan district

“I hope your trip has been enjoyable so far,” our host asks us.

Ordinary garden tea party talk except for two things – the venue and the host.

We are in Pakistan’s tribal region of South Waziristan. Our host is the region’s top Islamic militant, Baitullah Mehsud.

Commander Mehsud has recently been named in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. Newsweek has labelled him “more dangerous than Osama bin Laden”.

President Pervez Musharraf accused him last year of being responsible for dozens of suicide attacks which led Pakistan into emergency rule.

The CIA says he was the brains behind the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minster Benazir Bhutto.

With such a reputation, it is not surprising that there is a sense of awe as this short, plump, bearded man greets us.

Breakneck speed

We are part of a group of journalists invited by Mr Mehsud to his stronghold to see for ourselves “the atrocities committed by the Pakistan army in its recent campaign in the area”.

Pakistan’s army and pro-Taleban militants led by Baitullah Mehsud have recently agreed to a ceasefire after being locked in battle for most of 2007.

Baitullah Mehsud

Baitullah Mehsud is reluctant to be photographed

The ceasefire is part of attempts to secure a lasting peace in the area.

Earlier this month the army brought in journalists to show their successes against the militants in January.

Now it’s the militants’ turn to have their say.

Our journey with the Taleban had begun with a long wait for them at a petrol station in the town of Mir Ali, just inside North Waziristan.

A caravan with over half a dozen vehicles took off, travelling at breakneck speed through beautiful valleys and towering mountains.

Our escorts were on their guard, the speed is as much for security as for safety.

We saw very little of the heavy presence of troops in the area that the government talks about.

We did see plenty of abandoned check posts and bunkers destroyed by the Taleban.

In the town of Makeen in South Waziristan we switched to four-wheel drives.

Our destination was the district of Sararogha, very much the heart of Taleban territory.


It was dark when we finally arrived at a madrassa (religious school) high up on the mountains where we stayed in a nearby house for the night.

The next morning we headed down to the valley below to be shown the damage caused by bombing raids carried out by military aircraft.

The villages were a scene of havoc, with almost all the houses having suffered some damage.

Some have been completely destroyed, leaving their owners homeless.

Buildings damaged by air force bombing

Buildings damaged by air force bombing

“I have no money left now,” says Ali Khan, a local of Golrama village in the Kotkai area.

Mr Khan’s house was bombed by jets after he had fled the fighting with his family.

“I worked in the UAE since 1980 to build this… all my life’s savings.”

“There are no Taleban in my house, why did the government do this?”

Many families who fled during the intense fighting have been coming home to similar scenes.

Our last stop was Spinkai market which is now a mile long stretch of rubble.

Angry shopkeepers and irate locals line up to express their anger.

“The place they said was used to train suicide bombers is, in fact, a flour mill,” says Haji Khan, whose shop was also destroyed.

“We were all traders here and now our means of earning a living is gone.”

As he complains, a line of vehicles passes us on its way back to the nearby hamlets and villages.

The ceasefire, it seems, is already starting to take effect.

No choice

But will it last, or go the way other deals have gone before?

destruction after clashes in Waziristan

The army says it has dismantled the Taleban’s capacity in the region

In our garden meeting, “Amir Sahib” (honoured leader) – as Baitullah Mehsud is affectionately called by his men – smiles and shakes his head when this query is raised.

Around us, dozens of militants armed to the teeth listen intently to their leader.

“The Taleban are committed to their word,” he says.

“The onus is now on the government – whether they hold to their word, or remain in the alliance with the US.”

If that persists, Commander Mehsud says, the militants will have no choice but return to their path of resistance.

“We do not want to fight Pakistan or the army. But if they continue to be slaves to US demands, then we our hands will be forced.

“There can be no deal with the US.”

April 19, 2008

Filed under: MILITARY RULE — civilsocietypakistan @ 9:13 pm


APRIL 19, 2008

Saturday, 19 April, 2008, 07:41 GMT 12:41 PST
یہ صفحہ دوست کو ای میل کیجیئے پرِنٹ کریں
پشاور:فوج کی متنازع رہائشی سکیم

ایس سی این کا کہنا ہے کہ اس زمین پر فوج کو یہ مہنگی رہائیشی سکیم بنانے کی اجازت نہیں ہونی چاہہیے

ماحول کے تحفظ کے لیے کام کرنے والی ایک غیر سرکاری تنظیم ’سرحد کنزرویشن نیٹ ورک‘ یعنی ’ایس سی این‘ نے پشاور کے مضافات میں خالی کرائے گئے کچا گڑھی افغان پناہ گزینوں کی اراضی پر فوج کی جانب سے رہائشی منصوبہ شروع کرنے پر تشویش کا اظہار کیا ہے۔

ایس سی این کی جانب سے جاری کیے گئے ایک بیان کے مطابق تقریباً تین ہزار کنال کی اس قیمتی اراضی پر فوجی حکام کی جانب سے گزشتہ دنوں تختیوں پر لکھے نوٹس لگائے گئے ہیں جن میں اس اراضی پر اپنی ملکیت واضح کرنے کے علاوہ لوگوں کو اس سے دور رہنے کے لیے کہا گیا ہے۔

بیان کے مطابق بنیادی طور پر یہ ایک تربیتی علاقہ تھا لیکن فوجی حکام اب اسے ایک انتہائی مہنگے رہائشی منصوبے کے لیے استعمال کرنا چاہتے ہیں۔ اس علاقے میں تعمیراتی مشینری کام کرتے دیکھی گئی ہے۔

تنظیم نے پشاور ترقیاتی اور میونسپل ادارے کے سربراہ اور ناظم پشاور سے بھی اس معاملے پر بات کرنے کی کوشش کی لیکن بیان کے مطابق انہوں نے اس بارے میں کچھ کہنے سے انکار کیا ہے۔

ایس سی این کا کہنا ہے کہ حکام نے اس سے قبل اس اراضی پر پشاور کے شہریوں کی تفریح کے لیے اسے استعمال میں لانے کا فیصلہ کیا تھا۔ اس بابت یہاں چڑیا گھر تعمیر کرنے کی بھی اطلاعات تھیں لیکن اب شاید یہ ممکن نہ ہوسکے۔

ایس سی این کا کہنا ہے کہ حکام نے اس سے قبل اس اراضی پر پشاور کے شہریوں کی تفریح کے لیے اسے استعمال میں لانے کا فیصلہ کیا تھا۔ اس بابت یہاں چڑیا گھر تعمیر کرنے کی بھی اطلاعات تھیں لیکن اب شاید یہ ممکن نہ ہوسکے

آج کل کی قیمتوں کے مطابق اس اراضی کی قیمت اربوں روپے میں ہے۔ ایک وقت شہر سے باہر کا علاقہ تصور کی جانے والی یہ اراضی اب شہر کا اہم حصہ بن چکا ہے۔ پشاور سے افغانستان جانے والی شاہراہ کی ایک جانب اگر یہ اراضی ہے تو دوسری جانب حیات آباد کا اہم رہائشی علاقہ ہے۔

تنظیم نے الزام لگایا ہے کہ پشاور چھاونی کے علاقے کی دلکشی کو متاثر کرنے کے بعد اب فوجی حکام اس علاقے کو رہائشی منصوبے کے لیے استعمال کر کے پشاور کے ماحول کو بری طرح متاثر کریں گے۔ تنظیم کا یہ بھی الزام ہے کہ یہ نجی زمین ہے جس کوفوج طاقت کے زور پر اپنے استعمال میں لانا چاہتی ہے۔

سرحد کنزرویشن نیٹ ورک نے صوبائی حکومت، ماحولیات کے ماہرین اور سول سوسائٹی سے اپیل کی ہے کہ اس منصوبے کو روکنے کے لیے کوششیں کریں۔ اس کا موقف ہے کہ پشاور کے شہریوں کو تفریحی مقامات کی اشد ضرورت ہے کیونکہ تمام شہر نے پہلے ہی ایک کنکریٹ جنگل کی شکل اختیار کر لی ہے۔

تنظیم نے اس معاملے پر عدالتی کارروائی کی تجویز بھی پیش کی ہے۔

فوجی حکام سے اس مسئلے پر رابطے کی کوششیں کی گئیں تاہم یہ کامیاب نہیں ہوسکی۔

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