Abdul Qadeer Khan, Pakistani Nuclear Scientist, Dies at 85
(Bloomberg) -- Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, has died. He was 85.
Khan died in hospital on Sunday, according to Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed. While the cause of death hasn’t been officially announced, Khan had previously tested positive for Covid-19.
Prime Minister Imran Khan called the scientist a national icon in a post on Twitter, adding that he was loved because of his critical contribution in making Pakistan a nuclear weapon state and providing “security against an aggressive much larger nuclear neighbor.” Cabinet ministers and senior military officials will attend the funeral, Ahmed said.
Pakistan conducted its nuclear tests on May 28 and 30, 1998, at Chagai in Baluchistan after India carried out its series earlier that same month. Both were condemned by the rest of the world and economic sanctions were imposed by the U.S. and European nations for the actions.
Pakistan put Khan under house arrest in 2004 after he confessed publicly to running a network that sold machinery for making bomb-grade uranium to Iran, Libya and North Korea. Khan later recanted the confession, saying he had been made a “scapegoat” and confessed under pressure from former President Pervez Musharraf.
A court order in 2009 freed him from all restrictions after five years of confinement.
“What he did for this country was proven” in the 1998 nuclear tests, Ahmed said. “He will be buried with high respect today.”
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