Pakistan's top nuclear scientist dies at age 85

Baku, October 11, AZERTAC

Pakistan's renowned nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan died on Sunday morning in the capital Islamabad, state-run media said, according to Anadolu Agency.

Khan, 85, was admitted to a military-run hospital after his condition had deteriorated, according to Radio Pakistan. He died in hospital.

Pakistani Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain also confirmed the report.

"The whole nation is saddened by the demise of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan. His services to Pakistan are innumerable," he tweeted.

On Aug. 26, Khan was admitted to a military-run hospital after he tested positive for COVID-19. He, however, was discharged after recovering.

Pakistani President Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Defense Minister Pervez Khattak, and other Cabinet members, as well as top politicians, expressed grief over his demise, describing it as a "big loss" for the country.

"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," Alvi tweeted.

"Deeply saddened by the passing of Dr A Q Khan. He was loved by our nation because 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," Premier Khan said on Twitter.

The nuclear scientist was born in 1936 in Bhopal, India, and immigrated to Pakistan with his family in 1947 after the partition of the sub-continent.

Khan, a pioneer of Pakistan's nuclear program, who later fell out of favor with the military establishment in the country during Gen. Pervez Musharraf's rule, was placed under house arrest in 2004, but later released in 2009 after Musharraf's rule ended.

Khan led the country's nuclear program for some 25 years and is considered a national hero in Pakistan.

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