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Nuclear scientist Dr AQ Khan laid to rest at H-8 graveyard

Large number of people attended the funeral despite rain. (Source: DawnNewsTV)

ISLAMABAD: The architect of Pakistan’s nuclear programme and renowned scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan was laid to rest at H-8 graveyard, federal capital on Sunday.

He was given a state funeral at Faisal Mosque, which was attended by a large number of people, including Acting President Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani, members of the cabinet, legislators and civil and military authorities.

A large number of people were in attendance, despite rain which began to pour shortly before the prayers, at 3:30pm. Two separate enclosures were arranged within the mosque premises, of which one expressly catered to the general public.

Earlier in the day, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed announced that under the directions issued by Prime Minister Imran Khan, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan would be given a state funeral.

The minister said two graves were being prepared, one at Faisal Mosque and one at Islamabad’s H-8 graveyard. He later said his family decided that as per his will he will be buried at the H-8 graveyard.

Dr Khan breathed his last Sunday morning after succumbing to serious health conditions. The family of the nuclear physicist has confirmed his passing, saying he was shifted to a hospital in critical care after his health deteriorated.

Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan’s health worsened on Saturday night, after which he was brought to the KRL hospital due to lung’s problem. Doctors attempted to save the scientist’s life but were unsuccessful.

Dr AQ Khan is considered the father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme and is revered at home as a hero for building the Muslim world’s first atomic bomb.

AQ Khan’s legacy

Dr AQ Khan is considered the father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme and is revered at home as a hero for building the Muslim world’s first atomic bomb.

Abdul Qadeer Khan was born on 1 April 1936 in Bhopal (Present-day India). He migrated to Pakistan in 1951 and received his early education in Karachi.

Khan joined the D.J. Science College Karachi, where he studies physics and mathematics. He earned a B.Sc. degree in physical metallurgy at the University of Karachi in 1960. Khan accepted a job as an inspector of weight and measures in Karachi after graduation. He later resigned and went to work in the Netherlands in the 1970’s.

Khan gained fame as a talented scientist at the nuclear plant he worked in. He had special access to the most restricted areas of the URENCO facility. In December 1974, he returned to Pakistan and joined clandestine efforts to develop atomic weapons. He founded the Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) in 1976 and was both its chief scientist and director for many years.

He tried to convince Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to adopt his Uranium route rather than Plutonium route in building nuclear weapons. He also developed close ties with President General Zia-ul-Haq.

After his role in Pakistan’s nuclear program, Khan re-organized Pakistani’s national space agency, SUPARCO. In the late 1990s, Khan played an important role in Pakistan’s space program, particularly Pakistan’s first Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) project and the Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV).