Nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, known as the “father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb”, passed away on October 10 after being hospitalised due to COVID-19.
He died at the age of 53, after being transferred to the KRL Hospital in Islamabad with lung problems, state-run broadcaster PTV reported.
The Pakistani atomic scientist was hailed as a national hero for transforming his country into the world’s first Islamic nuclear power, but regarded by the West as a dangerous renegade responsible for smuggling technology to rogue states.
Khan had been admitted to the same hospital in August with COVID-19, it said. After being permitted to return home several weeks ago, he was transferred back after his condition deteriorated.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was the nuclear scientist’s demise. He said Khan will be buried in Faisal Mosque in Islamabad.
“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.” the Imran Khan tweeted.
Pakistan President Arif Alvi said he was “deeply saddened” by the news of Khan’s death.
“He helped us develop nation-saving nuclear deterrence, and a grateful nation will never forget his services in this regard,” Alvi tweeted.
Pakistan Defence Minister Pervez Khattak said he was “deeply grieved” over his passing and called it a “great loss”.
“Pakistan will forever honour his services to the nation! The nation is heavily indebted to him for his contributions in enhancing our defence capabilities,” he tweeted.
Khan was placed under effective house arrest in the Islamabad in 2004 after he admitted running a proliferation network to the three countries.
A court ended his house arrest in February 2009, but Khan’s movements were strictly guarded, and he was accompanied by authorities every time he left his home in an upscale sector of Islamabad.