Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan has died aged 85 after being hospitalized with Covid-19.

Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan has died aged 85 after being hospitalized with Covid-19. 1

Born in 1 April1936 in Bhopal, India, and later immigrated to Pakistan with his family in 1951, four years after the partition of the sub-continent, Khan got his early education in the southern port city of Karachi and attended prestigious DJ Science College Karachi.

Khan graduated from the University of Karachi in 1960 with a degree in metallurgy. In 1967, he received a master’s degree in metallurgy in Delft, the Netherlands.

In 1972, he earned a doctorate in metallurgical engineering from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium.

Khan married Hendrina Reterink, a British national who had been born to Dutch expatriate parents in South Africa, in 1964. The couple had two daughters.

He joined Pakistan's fledgling nuclear program in 1976 on the reported request of then Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, two years after India conducted its first "successful" nuclear test in 1974.

Khan at that time was working in the Netherlands.

Under Khan's leadership, Islamabad is believed to have silently developed its nuclear program in the 1980s but did not officially test it until May 1998.

Tributes pour in.

Also known as "Mohsin-e-Pakistan," complaisant of Pakistan in English, Khan was the only Pakistani to receive the country's top civilian awards thrice.

Tributes poured in as soon as the news of his death broke on national and international media. He was 85.

Pakistani President Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Defense Minister Pervez Khattak, Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa and other Cabinet members as well as top politicians expressed grief over his demise and called his death "a big loss" for the country.

"Abdul Qadeer Khan. Had known him personally since 1982. He helped us develop nation-saving nuclear deterrence, and a grateful nation will never forget his services in this regard," Alvi tweeted.

"Deeply saddened by the passing of Dr A Q 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 neighbor," Premier Khan said, referring to arch-rival India.

"For the people of Pakistan he was a national icon," he added.

Thousands attended the funeral ceremony at the sprawling Faysal Mosque. Top military officials, Cabinet members, and senior politicians were also present during the service.

Khan was buried with full state honor and the national flag flew at half-mast.


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