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DR ABDUL QADEER KHAN, FATHER OF PAKISTAN'S ATOMIC BOMB

  • DR ABDUL QADEER KHAN (born Bhopal 1 April 1936 – died Islamabad,10 October 2021) gained worldwide fame as the "father of Pakistan's atomic weapons program".

  • Friends have asked me to express my views about his role in history. People know that I am against war and especially nuclear war and nuclear weapons.

  • However, realistically speaking it was not surprising that Pakistan would go into a competition with India to acquire nuclear weapons capability once India had detonated a nuclear device in 1974.

  • From what I have gathered, Dr Qadeer Khan offered his services to then Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to help produce a nuclear weapon. His services were accepted and Bhutto introduced him to other Pakistani scientists who were working on that project.

  • Dr Khan helped with the smuggling of equipment and other paraphernelia from his base in Amsterdam and although himself a metallurgist and not a nuclear scientist his services were vital, even crucial to Pakistan producing its nuclear devices.

  • After 9/11 Dr Khan's role was subjected to scrutiny and upon American pressure President Musharraf placed him under house arrest and told the public that Dr Khan had earned millions of dollars through the illicit sale of nuclear technology to a number of countries.

  • Dr Khan later accused Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto andf even Musharraf for being part of the illicit nuclear deals racket.

  • The truth must be somewhere in the middle.

  • Whatever views one may hold about him, it must be admitted that he played a crucial role in enabling Pakistan to attain nuclear weapons capability.

  • It is not surprising that he is a national hero for many Pakistanis while others accuse him of misusing his role as a researcher to conduct smuggling of such sensitive science and material.

  • For me, his role is understandable in the context of REALPOLITIK. I only hope that one day South Asia can be a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone and ultimately the whole world can civilize and humanize to abolish all nuclear weapons.

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