Report Wire - Abdul Qadeer Khan and the stain of espionage, proliferation, and maker of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb

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Abdul Qadeer Khan and the stain of espionage, proliferation, and maker of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb

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Abdul Qadeer Khan and the stain of espionage, proliferation, and maker of Pakistan's nuclear bomb

On Sunday (October 10), Abdul Qadeer Khan aka the ‘Father of Pakistan’s Nuclear Bomb’ breathed his final on the ripe age of 85. He was admitted to a hospital in Islamabad earlier that morning after he complained of lung drawback. However, his well being situation deteriorated and he handed away inside a couple of hours’ time.
His demise was mourned by a number of politicians in Pakistan, together with Prime Minister Imran Khan. In a tweet, Khan thanked Abdul Qadeer for making Pakistan a ‘nuclear State’ within the face of an ‘aggressive and large nuclear neighbour’ India.
Deeply saddened by the passing of Dr A Q Khan. He was liked by our nation bec of his important contribution in making us a nuclear weapon state. This has supplied us safety in opposition to an aggressive a lot bigger nuclear neighbour. For the folks of Pakistan he was a nationwide icon.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) October 10, 2021
Unlike India’s missile man APJ Abdul Kalam, who’s admired by all sections of the society, Abdul Qadeer Khan of Pakistan remained a polarising determine. While most people adore him for his supposed contribution to the nation’s nuclear programme, senior scientists bear in mind him as an ‘egomaniacal lightweight given to exaggerating his expertise’. Although he was born in present-day Bhopal in 1936, his household left for Muslim-majority Pakistan within the yr 1952.
Abdul Qadeer Khan and the motivation to turn into a ‘nuclear power’
Abdul Qadeer Khan was motivated to hitch Pakistan’s nuclear programme after India efficiently carried out its first-ever nuclear check on May 18, 1974 (additionally known as Operation Smiling Buddha). Pakistan’s humiliating loss to India within the 1971 battle and the next creation of Bangladesh additionally instilled a nationalistic fervour inside him. In September 1974, he wrote a letter to the then Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto concerning the want for producing extremely enriched uranium (HEU) as an alternative of weapon-grade plutonium.
When he met Bhutto in December 1974, he defined why he thought the thought of ‘plutonium’ was not possible (plutonium enrichment required nuclear reactors and reprocessing whereas uranium might be enriched utilizing gaseous centrifuges). The Pakistani Prime Minister was impressed and Abdul Qadeer Khan was inducted into the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) in 1975. Khan was employed with the Physical Dynamics Research Laboratory within the Netherlands in 1972. The lab was a subcontractor of URENCO, which labored within the area of uranium enrichment utilizing ultracentrifuges.
Owing to safety lapses, Abdul Qadeer Khan was in a position to achieve full entry to details about ultracentrifuge expertise at URENCO. Between 1974 and 1975, the metallurgist stole drawings of centrifuges, collected categorised data, and created an inventory of European suppliers. Given that URENCO started suspecting his actions, he left the Netherlands for Pakistan in December 1975. Upon his return, he started engaged on the enrichment of uranium utilizing the categorised data that he stole from URENCO.
Charges of espionage, proliferation and profiterring in opposition to Abdul Qadeer Khan
In 1979, the Dutch authorities tried to prosecute him for ‘nuclear espionage’ however failed to take action resulting from lack of proof. Abdul Qadeer Khan was of the opinion that the PAEC alone couldn’t present the supplies required to maintain Pakistan’s nuclear programme. He insisted on buying digital supplies from Dutch firms, a proposal rejected by the Pakistani authorities. As such, he even tried to import Uranium from China throughout his go to to the Communist nation for a convention. It was later returned by the Pakistani authorities.
By the mid-Nineteen Eighties, Abdul Qadeer Khan had ensured that Pakistan was on its observe to construct the nuclear bomb. This even though he was personally not concerned within the design of nuclear gadgets, weapon testing or calculations. After discovering a window to profit himself monetarily, he started creating firms in Malaysia and Dubai to promote designs, components and centrifuges within the black market. His clients included the dictatorial regimes of Libya, Iran and North Korea. He nearly gave in to a request to promote centrifuge expertise to an unnamed Arab nation till one in all his confidantes confessed the matter to Pakistan PM Zia ul Haq.
Organizational Cultures and the Management of Nuclear Technology: Political and Military Sociology. (2017). (n.p.): Taylor & Francis.
A high-level investigation by the United States authorities discovered that Abdul Qadeer Khan was concerned in nuclear proliferation. Without even bothering to tell the Pakistani authorities, he handed on details about gaseous centrifuge expertise to Iran between 1987-1989. While the export of such designs was restricted by the Pakistani authorities, Khan was in a position to bypass all restrictions to attain his ulterior motives. The US additionally recovered centrifuges from Libya, which had been developed by Khan throughout his tenure on the URENCO within the Seventies. They additionally discovered that Khan had exported delicate data relating to uranium enrichment to North Korea in alternate for rocket engines between 1991 and 1997.
The ‘Confession’ and Aftermath : The Downfall of the Father of Pakistan’s Bomb
In 2003, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) discovered a uranium enrichment facility in Natanz metropolis in Iran. The facility was utilizing centrifuges that had been once more primarily based on the design of URENCO. Reportedly, it was acquired by Iran from a overseas middleman in 1989. Abdul Qadeer Khan was featured as one of many suppliers of the centrifuges to Iran, which introduced financial sanctions on the nation from the United States. Under US President George Bush, proof was supplied to Pakistan that confirmed the direct involvement of Khan in sharing delicate nuclear data and supplies with its arch-rivals. On January 31, 2004, he was faraway from the submit of adviser on science and expertise by the then Musharraf authorities.

(Video Courtesy: Youtube/DocsOnline)He appeared on the Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) channel on February 4, 2004, and confessed to his function as a nuclear proliferator. He admitted, “The investigation established that many of the reported activities did occur. These were inevitably initiated at my behest. In my interviews with the concerned government officials, I was confronted with the evidence and the findings. I involuntarily admitted that much of it is true and accurate.” Many consider that it was a staged occasion performed to wash the soiled linen of the Pakistani military institution. Surprisingly, the Musharraf administration pardoned him the next day however put him below home arrest till 2009.
In the final decade, he made negligible public appearances and remained away from fanfare.
Once whereas chatting with Geo News, he had recounted, “There are many ways (to develop Pakistan) but I have taken an oath that I will not divulge anything to this country. After the treatment meted out to me (despite ‘making’ Pakistan a nuclear power), I will not tell anything to people.”
Saddened on the passing of founding father of Pakistan’s nuclear program Dr Abdul Qadeer khan. Today, Pakistan has misplaced one in all its benefactors whose companies can’t be forgotten. May his soul relaxation in peace. This is what we do to our heroes!💔💔#DrAbdulQadeerKhanpic.twitter.com/BYFkHgahl7— Muhammad Jamlish Roy (@jamlishsays) October 10, 2021
On being requested whether or not he’s offended together with his countrymen, Abdul Qadeer Khan clarified, “I am not angry with the public but mad at betrayers and ungrateful people. The people of Pakistan still love me.”
Legacy of Abdul Qadeer Khan
The legacy of Abdul Qadeer Khan stays untarnished regardless of his act of nuclear espionage, nuclear proliferation and sale of categorised data and military-grade tools within the black market. Perhaps, one of many greatest ironies will be famous within the obituaries written on the occasion of his demise. While he’s being known as a ‘nuclear physicist’, the reality stays that he was a metallurgist who had a restricted function in Pakistan’s nuclear programme. Despite this, Pakistanis hail him because the ‘Father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb.’
The false impression relating to his academic {and professional} credentials have been highlighted by famous physicist Pervez Hoodbhoy in an article in 1999. He wrote, “With fewer than 40 active research physicists in the country, about 100 active chemists, and far fewer mathematicians, Pakistan is starved of scientists. Even in nuclear physics, contrary to what may be suggested by Pakistan’s successful nuclear weapons program, there are just a handful of nuclear physicists. Ill-informed journalism is responsible for certain popular misconceptions.”
Abdul Qadeer Khan was awarded the Nishan-e-Imtiaz in 1999 (Photo Credits:  STR/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
He additional added, “For example, Dr. A. Q. Khan, the pre-eminent architect of Pakistan’s nuclear program, is often called a nuclear physicist when, in fact, his degrees and professional accomplishments belong to the field of metallurgy, which is an engineering discipline rather than physics. When Dr. Khan visited the physics department of Quaid-e-Azam University about two months ago, he endeared himself even more to his admirers by wistfully saying he wished he could come someday to this university to study physics.”