Pakistan’s nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan passed away in Islamabad on Sunday morning at the age of 85.
Dr Khan was admitted to a local hospital where his health deteriorated early morning. PTV said that the nuclear scientist died after being transferred to a hospital with lung problems, reports Radio Pakistan.
“Under the directions issued by Prime Minister Imran Khan, Dr Khan would be given a state funeral,” said Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid.
Prime Minister Imran Khan took to Twitter and wrote Dr Khan was loved by the nation because of his critical contribution to making Pakistan 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,” he said, adding that he would be buried in Faisal Mosque “as per his wishes”.
President Dr Arif Alvi said, “He helped us develop nation-saving nuclear deterrence, and a grateful nation will never forget his services in this regard.”
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif said that the nation had lost “a true benefactor who served the motherland with heart and soul”.
According to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Nadeem Raza and all services chiefs expressed sorrow over Dr Khan’s passing.
The ISPR statement also quoted Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa as saying that he had rendered invaluable services to strengthen Pakistan’s defence capabilities.
Born in 1936 in Bhopal, India, Dr Khan had immigrated along with his family to Pakistan in 1947 after the partition of the subcontinent.
After learning of India’s nuclear test in 1974, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan joined his nation’s clandestine efforts to develop nuclear power, read Radio Pakistan’s statement.
He founded the Khan Research Laboratories in 1976 and was both its chief scientist and director for many years.
He was awarded Nishan-i-Imtiaz for his services to the country.