Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan

Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan also known as, father of Pakistan’s nuclear program, transformed Pakistan’s status as the first Islamic nuclear weapons power. He was born in Bhopal, India, on April 1st, 1936, and migrated to Pakistan after the partition of 1946. Khan completed a science degree at Karachi University in 1960, then went on to study metallurgical engineering in Berlin before completing advanced studies in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Contributions of Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan 

India bring forth its first nuclear device in May 1974 that built pressure on Pakistan to develop a weapon of equal intensity. Dran was watching everything from afar and to help his country he laid out a nuclear weapon program. Even having no connections to the Pakistani government he reached out to offer Bhutto his services and he accepted.

Upon joining the nuclear program in 1976, he tried to convince the Prime Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, to adopt his Uranium route rather the than Plutonium route in building nuclear weapons. AQ Khan was also known as ‘Centrifuge Khan” due to his impeccable work of separating the 235U and 238U isotopes from raw natural uranium. Pakistan tested its first nuclear weapon in Chagai in 1998.

During his time in the atomic bomb project, Khan pioneered research in the thermal quantum field theory and condensed matter physics, while he co-authored articles on chemical reactions of the highly unstable isotope particles in the controlled physical system. Khan set up a metallurgy and material science institute in Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology. He also played a vital role in bringing metallurgical engineering courses to various universities of Pakistan. Apart from that, he experimented in Pakistan’s space program as well, particularly Pakistan’s first Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) project and the Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV).

Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan research laboratory

Khan research laboratories(KRL) homes essential importance in the history of Pakistan. Back in 1979, the site was used to produce and developing a weapons-grade plutonium nuclear device under the research led by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) at its national laboratory. In 1974, AQ khan joined the lab as an advisor and there was no stopping after that, Khan implemented his knowledge regarding gas centrifuges in the lab that he learned while working on the uranium enrichment technology for a Dutch company from 1972 to 1975. He said that he and his colleagues devised a strategy to buy everything they needed in the open market to lay the foundation of good infrastructure and would then switch over to indigenous production, that got him labelled as a thief by the west – he was charged in 1983 for trying to steal enrichment secrets from the Netherlands. Apart from uranium enrichment, KRL has also done impressive work in missile technology, which has proved another contribution to the national missile programme.

During Musharaf’s reign, various fishy activities came under the light as he was accused of illegally sharing nuclear technology with Iran, Libya and North Korea, due to which he was sent to house arrest in 2004. A court ended his house arrest in February 2009, after he confessed to the espionage claims. Most of the supporters of AQ Khan still believe that he was used as a scapegoat and his confession was to save the global image of Pakistan.

Awards and political career

Khan remains a symbol of national pride and Pakistani’s regard him as a national hero, he is the only Pakistani to receive Nishan-e-Imtiaz twice. Due to his popularity, he also tried his luck in the political arena, forming a party – the Tehreek-e-Tahafuz Pakistan in July 2012 in hopes of winning votes based on respect, which he later dissolved within a year after none of its 111 candidates won a seat in national elections.

Read moreNuclear scientists from Pakistan bagged three international awards 


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