Pakistan’s renowned nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, 85, passed away Sunday after his health deteriorated.
Dr AQ Khan is considered the father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme and is revered at home as a hero for building the Muslim world’s first atomic bomb.
Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan’s health started deteriorating Saturday night, after which he was brought to the KRL hospital Sunday morning in an ambulance, at 6:00am.
Sources said the nuclear scientist experienced discomfort in breathing after which he was brought to the hospital. However, his health took a turn for the worse when his lungs started bleeding.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said Dr Khan was loved by the nation because of his critical contribution in making Pakistan a nuclear weapon state.
“This has provided us security against an aggressive much larger nuclear neighbour. For the people of Pakistan he was a national icon,” he said, adding that he would be buried in Faisal Mosque “as per his wishes”.
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif said that the nation had lost “a true benefactor who served the motherland with heart and soul.”
“The passing of Dr Khan is a huge loss for the country. His role in making Pakistan an atomic power remains central,” he said.
He was awarded the Nishan-i-Imtiaz for his services to the country.
In 2004, Dr Khan was at the centre of a massive global nuclear proliferation scandal in 2004. In a series of dramatic developments, he was accused by then army chief and president Pervez Musharraf of running a rogue proliferation network for nuclear material.
Shortly after Musharraf’s announcement, a recorded confession by Khan was aired in which he took sole responsibility for all the nuclear proliferation that had been revealed.