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With the nuclear issue in North Korea and Iran hitting all the media channels, it is time to bring Pakistan’s success in this field into clear view. The nuclear deterrent was developed by Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan at the head.
Dr Khan is a celebrated physicist of Pakistan. He is a metallurgic engineer. He is the inventor of gas-centrifuge enrichment technology for Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent program. He is the father of nuclear weapons program in Pakistan and is considered a national hero.
Abdul Qadeer Khan was born in 1936 in Bhopal, India. His family moved to Pakistan in 1952. He got his early education and completed his B.Sc from Karachi University. He served as weight and measures inspector for three years, then moved to Germany for higher education. From Delft University of technology in Belgium, he got his degree Masters of Science (technology) and attended several courses in metallurgical engineering there. He gained expertise in building centrifuges and learnt about hollow metal tubes and natural uranium U-235 isotopes (supreme bomb fuel) there.
He worked with Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and Engineering Research Laboratories (ERL) and under his supervision Ghauri I an intermediate range ballistic missile was built. On May 28, 1998 Pakistan proudly announced its first nuclear delivery missile system Ghauri I. It was the first of its kind in the Muslim world. In 1999, Pakistan successfully test fired Gharu II after more research at the Ihuda Institute.
Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan since has published more than 180 scientific research papers in international journals. He devoted his whole life to Pakistan’s security and was awarded the Nishan e Imtiaz and Hilal E Imtiaz for his services to the country. In 1990s he received Pakistan’s highest civil award,the Nishan e Imtiaz. He is the only Pakistani who has received this honor twice.
In 2004, Qadeer Khan was accused of nuclear proliferation. His reputation was seriously damaged and he was put under house arrest. In 2009, the High Court of Islamabad announced that Qadeer Khan was a free Pakistani citizen and he was able to move freely within the country. Dr Khan expressed his regret about having made to suffer such indignity and said that without his contributions, Pakistan would never have been the first Muslim country to acquire such a nuclear deterrent – and may not have survived.
He reminded, “We have obtained this capability under very difficult condition”, but we have succeeded”. Watching the world in chaos and on the verge of war, every Pakistani today realizes that without Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan’s contribution in nuclear energy, the very survival of this country could have been at stake in today’s world.