Monday, November 29, 2021

Known as the “Father of Pakistan’s Nuclear Program,” Abdul Qadeer Khan passes away at 85

Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, widely regarded as the “Father of Pakistan’s Nuclear Program,” passed away at the age of 85 in Pakistan.

As reported by the state-run PTV news channel, the Pakistani atomic scientist, who is celebrated as a national hero for establishing his country as the world’s first Islamic nuclear power but demonized by the West for smuggling nuclear technology to non-aligned countries, has been transferred to a hospital with lung problems.

In August, Khan was admitted to the same hospital as the patient who had contracted the coronavirus, and had remained in the facility ever since.

He was transported back to the hospital after his condition deteriorated after being allowed to return home some weeks earlier.

Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, Pakistan’s Interior Minister, announced on Twitter that an “urgent meeting” had been held “to finalize plans for the funeral service.”

Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, whom Pakistani President Arif Alvi had known personally since 1982, passed away on Sunday. Alvi expressed his sadness, saying he was “very grieved” to learn of his death.

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Khan was praised for bringing Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities on line with those of its archrival India and for making the country’s defences “impregnable.”

However, when he was accused of illegally transferring nuclear technology with Iran, Libya, and North Korea, he found himself in the sights of the international community.

Khan was pardoned by then-President Pervez Musharraf after making a confession on national television, but he was forced to live under house arrest at his luxurious Islamabad mansion for several years.

Khan was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2006, but he was able to recover following surgery.

In February 2009, a court ordered Khan’s release from house detention, but his movements were closely monitored, and he was escorted by police whenever he left his home in Islamabad.

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