ISLAMABAD: Abdul Qadir Khan, the scientist known as the father of the Pakistani atomic bomb, has died at the age of 85. The Pakistani daily Dawn reported that he had died while being treated for a lung ailment.
Born in Bhopal, Khan came to Pakistan in 1952. After graduation, he studied Materials Technology and Metallurgy in West Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. He received his PhD in Metallurgical Engineering in 1972.
After India’s first nuclear test in 1974, he wrote a letter to Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto announcing his readiness to serve. He left his job in the Netherlands in 1975 and returned. The first mission was to increase the country’s uranium production to increase its nuclear arsenal.
Khan’s activities were closely monitored by Dutch intelligence agencies even after he left the country. In 1983, in Khan’s absence, a Dutch court sentenced him to four years in prison for leaking nuclear secrets. He has been accused of trying to transfer nuclear technology to countries such as Iraq, Iran, North Korea and Libya since 2000.
In February 2004, he confessed on a Pakistani TV program that he had been involved in illegal nuclear deals. He was soon acquitted by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. However he acknowledged that their numbers were not enough to defeat Pakistan’s government.
In 2009, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described him as “the world’s greatest nuclear weapons spokesman who has caused irreparable damage.” Leading leaders, including Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, offered their condolences.
English Summary: ‘World’s greatest proliferator’: A.Q. Khan, father of Pak nuclear bomb, dies