A grateful nation will never forget Dr Khan’s services for strengthening Pakistan’s defense by nuclear weapons against a hostile neighbor.
ISLAMABAD: Father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan passed away at the age of 85 years in Islamabad on Sunday. He was given a state funeral at Faisal Mosque before being laid to rest at the H-8 graveyard.
The family of the national icon confirmed his passing, saying he had been in a very critical health condition and was shifted to the ICU.
After contracting Covid-19 earlier, Khan had recovered but since last night his health deteriorated and he was shifted to Khan Research Laboratories’ Hospital (KRL) ICU. His funeral will be offered in the Faisal Mosque later on Sunday, the family confirmed.
Condolences pour in
President Dr. Arif Alvi expressed his condolences over the sad demise of Dr. A Q Khan, saying: “Had known him personally since 1982.”
“He helped us develop nation-saving nuclear deterrence, and a grateful nation will never forget his services in this regard. May Allah bless him,” the president said in his tweet.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said: “Deeply saddened by the passing of Dr A Q Khan. He was loved by our nation because of his critical contribution in making us a nuclear weapon state. This has provided us security against an aggressive much larger nuclear neighbor. For the people of Pakistan he was a national icon.”
He will be buried in Faisal Mosque as per his wishes. My condolences & prayers go to his family, the PM added.
Defence Minister Pervez Khattak said he was “deeply grieved” over his passing and called it a “great loss”.
Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar said that Dr Khan had played an important role in making the country “invincible”. He also offered prayers for the deceased.
Born in 1936 in Bhopal, India, Dr Khan had immigrated along with his family to Pakistan in 1947 after partition of the subcontinent and settled in Karachi.
Khan received his early education from Karachi’s famous DJ Science College. In 1961, he went to Europe for higher studies and earned his PhD degree from the universities of Germany and Holland.
Dr Abdul Qadeer approached the then Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1974 and informed him about his expertise in the challenging process of Uranium enrichment through which nuclear energy is acquired.
After learning of India’s nuclear test in 1974, he had joined his nation’s clandestine efforts to develop nuclear power. He had founded the Khan Research Laboratories in 1976 and was its chief scientist and director for many years.
Dr Khan was awarded the Nishan-e-Imtiaz twice and the Hilal-e-Imtiaz once for his services to the country.
In 2004, Dr Khan was at the centre of a massive global nuclear proliferation scandal. He was accused by then army chief and President Pervez Musharraf of running a rogue proliferation network for nuclear material.
Shortly after Musharraf’s announcement, a recorded confession by Dr A Q Khan was aired in which he took sole responsibility for all the nuclear proliferation that had been revealed.