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.”
Deeply saddened by the passing of Dr A Q Khan. He was loved by our nation bec 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.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) October 10, 2021
Several celebrities also took to social media to mourn the passing of the prolific scientist.
The father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme Sir Abdul Qadeer Khan is no more. Inna Lillahe wa Inna Elehe Rajeoon. Standing ovation to our hero for giving us strength and power with the grace of Almighty and his endless contributions. pic.twitter.com/9gCkjGeceI
— Imran Abbas (@ImranAbbas) October 10, 2021
إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رٰجِعونَ
— Ali Zafar (@AliZafarsays) October 10, 2021
We are a nuke-power today only because of AQ Khan. Forever indebted. Khuda Hafiz, Mohsin-e-Pakistan. May Allah grant you higher place in Jannah tul Firdous. Aameen🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/XejxdFkA6K
— Adnan Siddiqui (@adnanactor) October 10, 2021
Sorry to hear about the passing of #DrAbdulQadeerKhan.
Thank you for your services Sir!
My thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones.
— Saba Qamar (@s_qamarzaman) October 10, 2021
Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un.
Rest in peace and power, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan.
— Osman Khalid Butt (@aClockworkObi) October 10, 2021
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.