Thousands gather at the Faisal Mosque as rain pours down
Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, passed away early Sunday morning. He was given a state funeral at the Faisal Mosque and laid to rest at Islamabad’s H-8 graveyard.
Thousands of people attended the funeral prayers as rain poured down in the federal capital.
The nuclear scientist, 85, was rushed to a private hospital in Islamabad after his health deteriorated.
Federal Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed said that the doctors did everything to save the nuclear scientist’s life but couldn’t do so.
The scientist passed away after his lungs collapsed, according to doctors.
“When he was admitted at the military hospital a few days back, Dr Khan expressed his desire to be laid to rest at the Faisal Mosque,” the interior minister told SAMAA TV.
However, Dr Khan was laid to rest in the H-8 graveyard, about 11km from the Faisal Mosque.
A statement issued by the interior minister said that a grave had been prepared in the premises of Faisal Mosque but later it was decided to bury him in the H-8 cemetery at the request of Dr Abdul Qadeer’s family, according to BBC Urdu.
Dr Khan also wanted the vice-chancellor of the International Islamic University to lead the funeral prayers, the interior minister said.
“We are finalising arrangements for that,” he told SAMAA TV on Sunday morning.
Later, Professor Dr Ahmed Al Ghazali led the funeral prayers.
Dr Khan’s funeral prayers were held at the Faisal Mosque at 3:30pm.
Earlier, on August 27, the nuclear scientist was moved to the KRL Hospital after he contracted Covid-19.
Last month, according to a report by DAWN, the scientist complained that neither Prime Minister Imran Khan, nor his cabinet members inquired after his health.
Dr Khan was lauded for bringing the nation up to par with arch-rival India in the atomic field and making its defences “impregnable”.
At 3:30pm, the scientist’s body reached the Faisal Mosque for the funeral prayers. A huge number of people gathered outside the mosque to offer their condolences.
Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan was given a guard of honour before the funeral prayers commenced.
About 5pm, his body was brought to the H-8 graveyard where he was laid to rest.
Earlier in the day, a notification issued by the Ministry of Interior revealed that the national flag of Pakistan will be flown at half-mast on Sunday. The government had announced a state funeral for Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has instructed the X Corps, Chairman joint chief of army staff, and leaders of the navy and airforce to ensure their presence at Dr AQ Khan’s funeral, the federal interior minister said in a press conference Sunday.
The police, Rangers, and FC personnel were handed over the responsibility of the security.
“Today, a great man died. He was a great scientist. He served this country with emotion, dignity, respect, and hard work. The entire nation salutes him and he’s going to be buried with high respects today [Sunday] at the H-8 graveyard,” Sheikh Rasheed added.
Immediately after the news broke out, condolences started pouring in. Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted that Dr AQ Khan’s critical contribution in making Pakistan a nuclear weapon state provided the country security against an “aggressive much larger nuclear neighbour”.
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
“For the people of Pakistan, he was a national icon,” the premier added.
President Arif Alvi said he had personally known the scientist since 1982. “He helped us develop nation-saving nuclear deterrence, and a grateful nation will never forget his services in this regard,” he tweeted.
انا للّٰہ وانا الیہ راجعون— Dr. Arif Alvi (@ArifAlvi) October 10, 2021
Deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Dr. 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. May Allah bless him.
Federal Planning Minister Asad Umar tweeted: “Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan played a key role in making Pakistan invincible. May Allah grant him a high position in Paradise.”
Sad to learn of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan’s death. He was a pioneer of Pakistan’s nuclear program and contributed immensely to our security. May his soul RIP— Shafqat Mahmood (@Shafqat_Mahmood) October 10, 2021
Saddened to hear the sad demise of the ace nuclear scientist of Pakistan.— Mushtaq Ghani (@MushtaqGhaniPTI) October 10, 2021
Your name will always enlightened in the history of Pakistan.
May Allah Almighty bless him with the highest rank in jannah
Defence Minister Pervez Khattak said he was “deeply grieved” over the scientist’s death and called it a “great loss”.
إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعونَ— Pervez Khattak (@PervezKhattakPK) October 10, 2021
Deeply grieved at the sad demise of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan. Great loss! Pakistan will forever honor his services to the nation! Nation is heavily indebted to him for his contributions in enhancing our defence capabilities.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed expressed “deep sorrow and grief” over the scientist’s demise. ” May Allah Almighty grant the Mohsin-e-Pakistan the highest position in paradise.”
ڈاکٹر عبدالقدیر خان کے انتقال پرگہرے دکھ اورغم کا اظہار— Sheikh Rashid Ahmed (@ShkhRasheed) October 10, 2021
اللہ تعالی محسن پاکستان کو جنت الفردوس میں اعلی ترین مقام عطا فرمائے۔
اللہ تعالی ڈاکٹر عبدالقدیر خان کے سوگواران اور لواحقین کو صبر عطا فرمائے –#drabdulqadeerkhan pic.twitter.com/yqpvg0nhal
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, in an interview with SAMAA TV, said that the scientist’s death is a huge blow for Pakistan. “He laid the foundation of the nation’s defence and turned the impossible into reality.”
He reiterated that Dr AQ Khan is Pakistan’s “mohsin”. He was not just an amazing scientist but also a very humble human being, the minister added.
Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan was born on April 1, 1936, in Bhopal of British India. Khan attended the University of Karachi where he completed a BSc in Physics.
He was heavily influenced by the events of 1971, the loss of East Pakistan, and the subsequent test of nuclear explosives by India in 1974, which led him to write to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto expressing his desire to work for Pakistan’s nuclear program.
He joined Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) in 1976. Pakistan had already acquired its weapons by the 1980s but detonated in the late 1990s after India conducted its tests.
He founded the Engineering Research Laboratory, or ERL, to develop a uranium-enrichment capability. In 1981 ERL was renamed the Khan Research Laboratory or KRL.
Dr AQ Khan was awarded the Hilal-i-Imtiaz and the Nishan-e-Imtiaz in 1989 and 1999 for his outstanding performance in the world of science and technology. But he found himself in the international crosshairs when he was accused of illegally sharing nuclear technology with Iran, Libya, and North Korea.
The scientist was placed under effective house arrest in the capital Islamabad in 2004 after he admitted running a proliferation network to the three countries.
A court ended his house arrest in February 2009, but his movements were strictly guarded, and he was accompanied by authorities every time he left his home in Islamabad.
With additional information from AFP.