Pakistan’s nuclear hero, Abdul Qadeer Khan, revered as the “father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb”, dies at 85, authorities said Sunday, after having been hospitalized with Covid-19.
Hailed as a national hero, Pakistan’s atomic scientist services for transforming his country into the world’s first Islamic nuclear power are undeniable and laudable. As a result, Pakistan had attained nuclear capabilities which had balanced the military asymmetry with its neighbor India. His services were a stepping stone towards full spectrum deterrence keeping Indian nuclear threat at the bay. However, the West has regarded his services as a dangerous renegade responsible for smuggling technology to rogue states.
He died after being transferred to the KRL Hospital in Islamabad with lung problems, state-run broadcaster PTV reported.
Also, the PTV broadcaster reported that Khan had been admitted to the same hospital in August with Covid-19. After being permitted to return home several weeks ago, he was transferred back after his condition deteriorated.
The nation mourns the colossal loss of Mohsin-e-Pakistan. He is truly Pakistan’s nuclear hero for making us invincible. By leaving an immortal legacy behind him, he made the nation forever indebted.
Laudable services by Pakistan’s nuclear hero
Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi said in a tweet he was “deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan”, who he had known personally since 1982.
“He helped us develop nation-saving nuclear deterrence and a grateful nation will never forget his services.”
انا للّٰہ وانا الیہ راجعون
Deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan. Had known him personally since 1982.
He helped us develop nation-saving nuclear deterrence, and a grateful nation will never forget his services in this regard. May Allah bless him.
— Dr. Arif Alvi (@ArifAlvi) October 10, 2021
Khan was lauded for bringing the nation up to par with arch-rival India in the atomic field and making its defences “impregnable”.
But he found himself in the international crosshairs when he was accused of illegally sharing nuclear technology with Iran, Libya and North Korea.
Khan’s house arrest
Khan was placed under effective house arrest in the capital Islamabad in 2004 after he admitted running a proliferation network to the three countries.
In 2006 Khan was struck with prostate cancer, but recovered after surgery.
A court ended his house arrest in February 2009, but Khan’s movements were strictly guarded, and he was accompanied by authorities every time he left his home in an upscale sector of leafy Islamabad.
Read more: Why Pakistan became nuclear power?