• Tuesday, Oct 26, 2021
  • Last Update : 01:41 am

'Father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb' AQ Khan dies at 85

  • Published at 01:07 pm October 10th, 2021
Pakistan - Nuclear - Weapons - Abdul Qadeer Khan
File photo: Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan waves from his residence after a court verdict in Islamabad on February 6, 2009 AFP

The atomic scientist was hailed as a national hero for transforming his country into the world's first Islamic nuclear power    

Abdul Qadeer Khan, the founder of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program who was accused of smuggling technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya, has died at 85, authorities said Sunday.

The atomic scientist, who spent the last years of his life under heavy guard, died in the capital Islamabad, where he had recently been hospitalised with Covid-19.

Khan died after being transferred to the city's KRL Hospital with lung problems, state-run broadcaster PTV reported.

He had been admitted to the same hospital in August with Covid-19.

But after being permitted to return home several weeks ago, he was transferred back after his condition deteriorated, it said.

Khan was hailed a national hero for transforming Pakistan into the world's first Islamic nuclear power and strengthening its clout against rival and fellow nuclear-armed nation India.

But he was declared by the West a dangerous renegade for sharing technology with rogue nuclear states.  

The news of his death sparked an outpouring of grief and praise for Khan's legacy.

"Deeply saddened by the passing of Dr A Q Khan," Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted, stressing how loved the nuclear scientist had been in Pakistan due to "his critical contribution in making us a nuclear weapon state".

"For the people of Pakistan he was a national icon."

The prime minister said the scientist would be buried at Islamabad's majestic Faisal Mosque at his request.

Also Read - A question of when, not whether

The funeral was scheduled to be held at 3:30pm (1030 GMT) Sunday. 

Black market

According to Islamic tradition, burials should take place as soon as possible, usually within 24 hours of death. 

Khan was lauded for bringing the nation up to par with India in the atomic field and making its defences "impregnable".

But he found himself in the international crosshairs when he was accused of illegally sharing nuclear technology with Iran, Libya and North Korea.

He confessed in 2004 after the International Atomic Energy Agency -- a UN watchdog -- put Pakistani scientists at the centre of a global atomic black market. 

Pardoned by the nation's military ruler Pervez Musharraf, he was instead put under house arrest for five years. 

"I saved the country for the first time when I made Pakistan a nuclear nation and saved it again when I confessed and took the whole blame on myself," Khan told AFP in an interview in 2008.

After his house arrest was lifted, he was granted some freedom of movement around the leafy capital, but always flanked by authorities, who he had to inform of his every move. 

Khan, who was born in Bhopal in pre-partition British-ruled India on April 1, 1936, was also behind the country's aggressive missile development program.

Facebook 51
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail