Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan Our National Hero

By Mahjabeen Malik

We are thankful to Allah Almighty who has bestowed us with legends and heroes like that of Allama Muhammad Iqbal, Quaid-e-Azam, Abdul Sattar Edhi, Professor doctor Abdus Salam, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan and some others. Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan known as A.Q Khan is our national hero and father of Nuclear in Pakistan.   Dr A.Q Khan was born on April 27th 1936. His birthplace was Bhopal in central India. His father belonged to Turkish Ghauri Tribe while his mother belonged to Mughals. His father Abdul Ghafoor passed out his graduation exams from Nagpur University in 1896. His father was a respectable member of his community and his mother Zulekha Begum was a religious-minded housewife. Abdul Ghafoor Khan migrated to Pakistan after five years of independence on August 15th 1952. Abdul Qadeer Khan got his basic education in Ginnori Primary School and did his Middle examination from Jehangiria Middle School. He passed his matriculation from Hameedia High School. Then he got admission in D.J Sindh Government Science College, Karachi. He passed B.Sc degree from Karachi University. Later on, he went to Belgium for higher studies. He did Master of Science and Technology in 19767 from Delft the University of Technology in Belgium. In 1972 he secured his PhD from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. He worked as an excellent metallurgist.

Personal Life

In 1964, Dr A.Q. Khan married to Hendrina Reterink known as Henry, a British national who was born to a Dutch family in South Africa. Later on, her parents were migrated to the Netherlands. Dr A.Q. Khan had left Netherland and came back to Pakistan accompanied by his wife Henry and two daughters; Dina Khan and Ayesha Khan.

Nuclear Power in Pakistan

When India decided nuclear plans, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto recommended for the nuclear weapon on May 18, 1974. At the time Doctor Abdul Qadeer Khan was in Holland for his studies. On September 17, 1974 he started work for Anglo-Dutch –German nuclear engineering consortium Urenco, the Netherlands. Abdul Qadeer Khan inscribed a letter to Z.A.Bhutto and offered his services for designing nuclear. He came to meet Bhutto in December 1974 and discussed the nuclear deterrence for Pakistan. In the beginning, Dr A.Q Khan started working with Pakistan Atomic Commission (PAEC), under the command of Munir Ahmad Khan. But he continued his work there for a short period because he was not satisfied there. In July 1976, Z.A Bhutto offered him an autonomous control of the Kahuta Enrichment Project that had already been in process as Project-706 since 1974. But on 1st May 1981, Gen. Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq changed its name from ERL to KRL. On May 1998, in the period of Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan Army tested its nuclear device and came out as the solitary Muslim country to join the nuclear club.

 The scientific contributions of Dr A. Q. Khan 

There is a long list of the scientific contributions of Dr A.Q. Khan. He has served actively as a scientist and technologist in the world of science and technology has published more than 188 scientific research papers in international journals. The procedure of Uranium enrichment was achieved and a noteworthy development was made with victorious test firing of intermediate-range Ballistic Missiles, Ghauri I, in 1998 and Ghauri ll in 1999 under the command of Dr A.Q Khan. Dr A.Q. Khan achieved the honorary degree of Doctor of Science from the University of Karachi in 1993 from Baqai Medical University in 1998, Doctor of Science from Hamdard University, Karachi in 1999 and from the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, in December 2000. The name of Dr A.Q Khan was selected twice for Nishan-e-Imtiaz in 1996 and again in 1998 for the recognition of his contribution to the field of science and technology. He is the only Pakistani who was selected twice for Nishane-e-Imtiaz. He has also received Hilal-e-Imtiaz in 1990.  In November 2003, he was accused of international promulgation network thus Pakistan was warned of nuclear leaks according to AIEA report. Initially, Dr A.Q Khan refused to have any involvement in the production of nuclear but on February 4, 2004; he admitted his involvement in the proliferation of nuclear and begged pardon from the nation. Subsequently, he was put under the custody and no one was allowed to see him. He had been house arrest until 2009.

In 2008 German newspaper SPIEGEL wrote, “He permitted his wife, who was familiar with the details of his nuclear secrets, to publicize Khan’s version of the story through SPIEGEL, in the form of a dossier she handed over to the magazine.”

In the report, Dr A.Q. Khan’s wife Henry Qadeer Khan indicted previous Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf of lying about her husband’s role in the nuclear program and said that her husband was pressured to make a false confession.

Dr A.Q Khan lives in the heart of every Pakistani as he has secured Pakistan from any lurking danger over the head of the country. Dr A.Q. Khan is the symbol of pride and a national hero for strengthening Pakistan against its worst enemy.