Pakistan’s notable nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, also known as the ‘father of Pakistan’s atomic weapons programme’, passed away in Islamabad on Sunday, at the age of 85.
Dr Qadeer had contracted Covid-19 last month and had initially remained under treatment at the Al-Shifa Hospital and later at the Military Hospital.
He had been moved back home after being successfully treated for the deadly infection. However, last night Dr Qadeer’s condition suddenly worsened. He was taken to a nearby hospital where he breathed his last early morning today.
The government has decided to bury Dr Qadeer at Faisal Mosque with state honours. In this regard, a meeting has been summoned by Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid at the Central Development Authority (CDA) headquarters to finalise the funeral arrangements for Dr Qadeer.
Born in 1936 in Bhopal, India, Dr Qadeer immigrated along with his family to Pakistan in 1947, after the partition of the sub-continent. He is considered the pioneer of Pakistan’s nuclear programme.
Dr Qadeer led the country’s nuclear programme for some 25 years and is considered a national hero. He also founded the Khan Research Laboratories in 1976 and was both its chief scientist and director for many years. He was awarded Nishan-i-Imtiaz for his services to the country.
STATE FUNERAL: Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said the funeral prayers of Dr Qadeer will be offered at Faisal Mosque at 3.30 pm.
He, however, added that the government has alternate burial arrangements at the H-8 graveyard in addition to Faisal Mosque. Dr Khan’s daughter will take the final decision, he continued.
The national flag will be flying at half-mast, the minister said, adding that the demise has left the entire nation bereaved.
“The prime minister has directed to bury him with full [state] honours.”
According to the minister, the joint chiefs of staff and representatives of armed forces will also attend the funeral. Police, Rangers and FC have been directed to take strict security measures, he added.
CONDOLENCES: President Dr Arif Alvi has expressed sorrow on the demise of Dr Qadeer Khan.
In his tweet on Sunday, he said Dr A Q Khan helped Pakistan develop “nation-saving nuclear deterrence”.
In a tweet, Prime Minister Imran expressed grief over Dr Qadeer’s death.
He said that the nuclear scientist was loved by the nation because of “critical contributions” towards making Pakistan a nuclear power.
“He will be buried in Faisal Mosque as per his wishes. My condolences & prayers go to his family,” the premier added.