ISLAMABAD, OCT 10: Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan’s atomic weapons program, passed away early Sunday morning, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed revealed.
The nuclear scientist, 85, was rushed to a private hospital in Islamabad after his health deteriorated.
Rasheed said that the doctors did everything to save the nuclear scientist’s life but couldn’t do so. Doctors added the scientist passed away after his lungs collapsed.
Dr AQ Khan’s funeral prayers will be held at the Faisal Mosque at 3:30pm. His body has been moved from the hospital to his E-7 residence.
“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.
He also wanted the vice-chancellor of the International Islamic University to lead the funeral prayers. “We are finalising arrangements for that,” Rasheed said.
Later in the day, the scientist’s family announced that he will be buried at the H-8 graveyard.
Earlier, on August 27, the nuclear scientist was moved to the KRL Hospital after he contracted Covid. 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 AQ Khan was lauded for bringing the nation up to par with arch-rival India in the atomic field and making its defences “impregnable”.
Army, cabinet members to attend funeral prayers
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 later in the day.
Sheikh Rasheed said that, due to security reasons, it can’t be revealed if the PM will attend the prayers.
The police, Rangers, and FC personnel have been 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 will high respects today [Sunday] at 3:30pm, the H-8 graveyard,” the minister added.
Condolences pour in
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”.
“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.
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.”
Defence Minister Pervez Khattak said he was “deeply grieved” over the scientist’s death and called it a “great loss”.
Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed expressed “deep sorrow and grief” over the scientist’s demise.
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.