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Celebrities mourn the passing of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan

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, who was diagnosed with Covid-19 last month, 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. Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted out a message in honour of the late scientist, writing, “Deeply saddened by the passing of Dr AQ Khan. He was loved by our nation because of his critical contribution in making us 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.”

Several celebrities also took to social media to mourn the passing of the prolific scientist. 

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said the funeral prayers of Dr Qadeer will be offered at Faisal Mosque at 3:30 pm. He further added that the government has alternate burial arrangements at the H-8 graveyard in addition to Faisal Mosque. Dr AQ Khan’s daughter will take the final decision on the site of the grave, he added.

However, in a statement issued in the afternoon, Rashid said after consultation with Dr Qadeer’s family, the deceased scientist will be laid to rest in a cemetery in sector H-8 as per his last will. The local administration has been directed to dig another grave in the said graveyard, he added.

The national flag of Pakistan will be flown at half-mast, the minister said, adding that the demise has left the entire nation bereaved. “The prime minister has directed to bury Dr Qadeer with full [state] honours,” the interior minister said, adding that the ministers have been directed to attend the funeral prayers as well.

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