Dr. Khan is a Pakistani nuclear scientist, known as the pride of the nation and the father of the Pakistan atomic bomb program. Dr. Khan headed Pakistan’s nuclear program for 25 years. He played a crucial role in strengthening Pakistan’s national security against India and other enemies of the nation. He is the only Pakistani scientist who has been awarded high civil rights twice.
Early Life and Career
This genius and patriot man was born on the land of Bhopal in 1963. After five years of independence, he migrated to Pakistan. He continued his further education at St. Anthony’sAnthony’s High School, and later he joined College of Karachi, where he studied physics and mathematics as major subjects. Later on, He moved to West Germany for higher education. He obtained a Master of Science (Technology) in 1967 from Delft University of Technology and then a doctorate in metallurgy from the Catholic University Leuven (Belgium) in 1972. He excelled in the field of metallurgy- the art of building centrifuges; by attending several courses in metallurgical engineering.
From May 1972 to December 1975, Dr. A Q Khan worked as a scientist on a nuclear plant in a Physics Dynamic Research Laboratory (also known as FDO), based in Amsterdam. Meanwhile, he also served in the URENCO consortium, specializing in the manufacture of nuclear equipment.
Contribution to Pakistan’s Nuclear program
Right after India declared their nuclear design, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto called an urgent meeting of Pakistani scientists on January 20, 1972, and put forward a dire need to carry out the task of nuclear explosions. Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission was appointed to supervise this task. On September 17, 1974, while Dr.Khan was working for URENCO in the Netherlands, he wrote a letter to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto offering his services as a nuclear scientist, and he also suggested him to adapt the uranium route in building a nuclear weapon. He headed to Pakistan in December 1974, met Bhutto in person, and convinced him to go with his uranium route rather than the plutonium.
Initially, he worked in coordination with Munir Ahmed, head of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, which didn’t work for an extended period. Later Bhutto provided A Q Khan full charge of the Kahuta Enrichment Project in July 1976. A Q khan built Engineering Research Laboratories (ERL) and developed the uranium enrichment plant. Later, on May 01, 1981, on the orders of Gen. Mohammad Zia ul-Haq, ERL was renamed as Dr. A.Q. Khan Research Laboratories (KRL). Ultimately this uranium enrichment led to the successful testing of Pakistan’sPakistan’s first nuclear device.
Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan has served in science and technology in several remarkable ways, he published more than 188 scientific research papers in international journals. The significant process was made in uranium enrichment with the successful test-firing of Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missiles, Ghauri 1, in April 1998 and Ghauri II in April 1999, respectively.
Dr. A Q Khan was also the founder of the Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Tech in Topi, Swat. He was awarded the prestigious degree of doctor of science from the University of Karachi in 1993, from Baqai Medical University in 1998, Doctor of Science from Hamdard University, Karachi in1999, and from the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore in December 2000. For his marvelous contributions, he received the honorary award of Nishan-i-Imtiaz and Hilal-i-Imtiaz.
In November 2003, the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency warned the government of Pakistan of possible nuclear leaks. Khan was suspected of playing a significant role in this transfer of information regarding nuclear technology to other counties.
On January 31, 2004, he was arrested for his involvement in nuclear proliferation. Initially, he denied the accusation. Still, on February 4, he made an appearance on the Pakistani television and took the complete responsibility of his actions and exonerated Pakistan military and government from this scandal that rose a lot of questions later. He was held house arrest until 2009.
Despite being a controversial figure, he is still hailed by the masses as the national hero and pride of Pakistan.
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Sabeeka Zafar is a Bioinformatician-to-be with a passion to be a significant part of the great revolution in the near future in the field of Bioinformatics specifically and that of Science generally. Sabeeka is a social activist, enjoys working with people for the betterment of the society and loves to read and to write.