At 85, the controversial father of the nuclear bomb in Pakistan dies

His family announced that Abdul Qadeer Khan (a controversial figure who is known as the father in Pakistan's nuclear bomb) died of COVID-19 on Sunday. He had suffered from a long illness. He was 85.

At 85, the controversial father of the nuclear bomb in Pakistan dies

Khan was the one who set Pakistan on the path towards nuclear weapons in the 1970s. Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad, the Interior Minister, said that Khan died in Islamabad.

A state funeral was held at the capital's Faisal Mosque, a massive white-marble mosque. A honor guard carried his body and military and political dignitaries performed funeral prayers.

Pakistani flags flew at half-staff

Khan was embroiled in controversy even before he returned from the Netherlands in 1970s where he worked at a nuclear research center.

According to research by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, he was later accused of taking the Dutch facility's centrifuge technology for uranium enrichment that he would use to create Pakistan's first nuclear weapon.

Khan, who was a doctorate holder in metallurgical engineering at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, offered to launch Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program after India's first "peaceful" nuclear explosion in 1974.

He offered technology to Pakistan's nuclear weapons program and reached out to Zulfikar Ali Khan Bhutto, the then-Prime Minister. Bhutto accepted the offer, still sane from the 1971 loss to East Pakistan, which was later renamed Bangladesh. He also remembers the capture of 90,000. Pakistani soldiers by India. "We (Pakistanis), will eat grass even go hungry, but will have our own nuclear bomb (nuclear bomb)," he famously stated.

Since then, Pakistan and India have pursued their nuclear weapons programs together. Both countries have been declared nuclear weapons states since 1998, when they carried out tit-for–tat nuclear weapons testing.

The allegations and criticisms about Khan's involvement in Pakistan's nuclear program, and Pakistan's involvement in it, have been ongoing.

The U.S. accused Khan of selling nuclear secrets to Iran and North Korea during the 1990s, when Washington sanctioned Pakistan's nuclear weapons program. During the Soviet occupation in neighboring Afghanistan for 10 years, successive U.S. presidents had certified that Pakistan wasn't developing nuclear weapons. American law required the certification to allow U.S. assistance to rebels in Afghanistan through Pakistan.

In 1990, months after the 1989 withdrawal Soviet troops from Afghanistan in 1989, Washington placed crippling sanctions on Pakistan, thereby ending all humanitarian and military aid.

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