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Abdul Qadeer Khan

Abdul Qadeer Khan

Introduction

About

ABDUL QADEER KHAN


Abdul Qadeer Khan, commonly known as A. Q. Khan, is a Pakistani nuclear physicist and metallurgical engineer who played a pivotal role in Pakistan's nuclear weapons program. Born on April 1, 1936, in Bhopal, British India (now in India), Khan is widely regarded as the father of Pakistan's nuclear program and is celebrated as a national hero in Pakistan for his contributions to the country's defense capabilities.


Khan's academic journey began with a degree in metallurgical engineering from the University of Karachi in 1960. He then pursued further studies in Europe, obtaining a doctorate in metallurgical engineering from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium in 1972. Khan's expertise in metallurgy would later prove crucial in Pakistan's efforts to develop nuclear weapons technology.


In the early 1970s, Khan returned to Pakistan and joined the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), where he initially worked on research projects related to nuclear power generation. However, his focus shifted to uranium enrichment, a key component of nuclear weapons development, after the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, during which Pakistan felt vulnerable due to India's nuclear program.


Khan's breakthrough came in the late 1970s when he successfully developed a uranium enrichment centrifuge technology, known as the "Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) centrifuge program." This achievement marked a significant milestone in Pakistan's quest for nuclear weapons capability and earned Khan widespread recognition.


In the 1980s and 1990s, Khan's role expanded beyond technical research to include efforts to acquire nuclear technology and materials from abroad. He was accused of involvement in illicit nuclear proliferation activities, including sharing nuclear technology with countries such as Iran, North Korea, and Libya. These activities led to international scrutiny and condemnation, particularly after the revelation of the global nuclear proliferation network known as the "A. Q. Khan network."


Despite controversies surrounding his involvement in nuclear proliferation, Khan remained a revered figure in Pakistan, where he was hailed as a national hero for his contributions to the country's defense and security. In 2004, then-President Pervez Musharraf pardoned Khan for his role in nuclear proliferation activities, and Khan subsequently retired from public life.


Throughout his career, Khan received numerous awards and honors for his contributions to science and technology, including the Nishan-e-Imtiaz, Pakistan's highest civilian award. Despite his retirement, Khan's legacy continues to shape Pakistan's nuclear policy and its strategic position in the international arena.


Reference:  Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdul_Qadeer_Khan

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Place of Birth: Bhopal, India

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Date of Birth: April 27, 1936

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