Nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan passes away at 85

Pakistan’s renowned nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, 85, passed away Sunday after his health deteriorated.

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.

Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan’s health started deteriorating Saturday night, after which he was brought to the KRL hospital Sunday morning in an ambulance, at 6:00am.

Sources said the nuclear scientist experienced discomfort in breathing after which he was brought to the hospital. However, his health took a turn for the worse when his lungs started bleeding.

Doctors tried their best to save the renowned scientist’s life but were unable to do so, resulting in his death at 7:04am. Doctors have said Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan passed away as his lungs collapsed.

The hospital administration is trying to make arrangements to shift Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan’s body to his E-7 residence. His funeral prayers will be offered at the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad at 3:30pm, said his family.

Speaking to Geo News, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed showered praise on the scientist, adding that all necessary arrangements were made to save Dr Qadeer’s life.

Rasheed confirmed that the government will accord a state funeral to the scientist in recognition of his services for Pakistan.

The interior minister said Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan had helped him a lot in educational activities, adding that he had remained a visionary leader in times when Pakistan was going through a sensitive time.

“He is indeed the Mohsin-e-Pakistan,” said Rasheed.

Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan became a national hero overnight, not only in Pakistan but in the Islamic world as well, when in May 1998 Pakistan gave a befitting response to India by conducting its nuclear tests.

Following the tests, Pakistan became the sole nuclear power in the Muslim world and the seventh country to possess nuclear weapons. Pakistan’s nuclear weapons have kept Indian aggression in check.

Reactions pour in over Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan’s demise

Prime Minister Imran Khan praised Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan by saying that he was, for the people of Pakistan, “a national icon”.

“Deeply saddened by the passing of Dr A Q Khan. He was loved by our nation bec of his critical contribution in making us a nuclear weapon state. This has provided us security against an aggressive much larger nuclear neighbour. For the people of Pakistan he was a national icon,” he tweeted.

President Arif Ali also expressed sadness at his death.

Rasheed took to Twitter to post an old picture taken with the nuclear scientist, praying for his forgiveness.

“May Allah provide patience to Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan’s relatives and those who are mourning his passing,” he added.

PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif praised Dr AQ Khan, saying that the country has lost a true benefactor today.

Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar prayed for Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan’s soul after hearing about his demise.

He paid tribute to the nuclear scientist by saying that he played a key role in making Pakistan invincible.

Defence Minister Pervez Khattak said he was deeply grieved over the news of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan passing, adding that “Pakistan will forever honour his services to the nation”.

Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood heaped praise on the nuclear scientist, referring to him as the “pioneer of Pakistan’s nuclear program”.

“Sad to learn of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan’s death. He was a pioneer of Pakistan’s nuclear program and contributed immensely to our security. May his soul RIP,” he tweeted.

Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan’s death was a loss for the nation.

Dr AQ Khan’s life in a snapshot

Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, born on April 1, 1936, in Bhopal, India, was a renowned Pakistani metallurgist and nuclear scientist.

He was among those who migrated to Pakistan in 1947 with their families.

Khan is widely regarded as the “Father of Islamic Nuclear Bomb” or founder of gas-centrifuge enrichment technology for Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent program as he developed the Muslim world’s first atomic bomb.

He acquired his engineering degree from a university in the Netherlands in 1967  and later went on to secure a doctorate in metallurgical engineering from Belgium.

Dr Khan was the first Pakistani was awarded three presidential awards. He has been awarded the Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Order of Excellence) twice and the Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Crescent of Excellence) once.