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Dr. Abdul Qadir Khan: Were Pakistan’s Nuclear Scientists

Dr. Abdul Qadir Khan: Were Pakistan’s Nuclear Scientists

Dr. Abdul Qadir Khan were Pakistan’s Nuclear Scientists the most dangerous men in the world?

This article was first published on the BBC Urdu website in October 2021, which I dare to write today on the occasion of the second Death anniversary of Dr. Abdul Qadir Khan. On December 11, 2003, a group of officers from the American intelligence agency CIA and the British intelligence agency MI6 were about to board a special plane in Libya when they were handed a pile of yellow envelopes.

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Libya Issue

The team was nearing the end of a secret mission to hold critical talks with Libyan officials. When they boarded the plane and opened the yellow envelopes, they knew they had been given the crucial evidence they so desperately needed. These yellow envelopes contained the designs of nuclear weapons. Apart from these designs, the parts related to the nuclear program were provide by Pakistan’s nuclear scientist Dr. Abdul Qadir Khan. Dr Qadeer passed away on Sunday 10 October 2021 at the age of 85.

Center of Story

Abdul Qadir Khan was one of the most important figures regarding global security in the last half-century. His ongoing battle over the world’s most dangerous technology, where those who possess it and those who want to acquire it, are at the center of the story. Former CIA Director George Tenet tells AQ Khan. “At least as dangerous as Osama bin Laden”. He made this comparison when it was reveal that Osama bin Laden was the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks.

World’s Dangerous Person

The fact is that although Dr. AQ Khan is consider the most “dangerous man” in the world by Western spies, he is hail as a national hero in his homeland of Pakistan. This not only tells you a lot about the complexity of his personality but also shows how the world views nuclear weapons. In the seventies, Dr. Abdul Qadir Khan did not come to Europe as a nuclear spy. But he became a spy. He was working in the Netherlands in the 1970s when his country, Pakistan, after its defeat in the 1971 war and fearing India’s nuclear development, embarked on a nuclear bomb campaign.

Propaganda Nuclear supplier

Dr. Khan was involve in a European company building centrifuges for uranium enrichment. Enrich uranium can use for nuclear energy and if it is enrich to a certain limit, it can use to make a nuclear bomb. Dr. Abdul Qadir Khan succeed in copying the designs of modern centrifuges of the time and returned to his country where he form a secret network consisting mostly of European businessmen who help him develop nuclear bombs and centrifuges. They use to supply the most important ingredients (raw materials).

Founder of Nuclear Program

Dr. Abdul Qadir Khan is often referred to as the “founder of Pakistan’s nuclear program”, but in fact, he was one of the most important members of the program. He was given the status of a national hero who develop the atomic bomb to protect Pakistan. What other works did Dr. Abdul Qadir do that made him so important? He turned his clandestine network of suppliers of nuclear weapons components from import to export, and he became a globe-trotting figure, making contracts and deals with many countries. Many of these countries were consider “rebel states” by Western countries.

Dr. Abdul Qadir Khan
AQ Khan is remembered in Pakistan as “Mohsin-E-Pakistan”, or “Saviour of Pakistan”, for his role in acquiring nuclear weapons for the state [Getty Images]

Natanz Program

The program to produce centrifuges for Iran’s nuclear program in Natanz, which a cause of intense international diplomacy in recent years, was built in significant part with designs and materials provide by Abdul Qadeer. In a meeting, Abdul Qadeer Khan’s representatives provide Iran with a list of materials and components use in the development of a nuclear program, including prices, and Iranian officials could order the goods accordingly. Abdul Qadir Khan made more than a dozen visits. North Korea is also believe to have master missile technology instead of nuclear technology.

Western Monopoly

A major mystery with all these deals has always been whether Abdul Qadeer Khan was doing it all alone or was acting under the orders of his government, especially in the case of the deal with North Korea. It was said that Abdul Qadeer Khan was doing all this for the greed of money, but it is not that simple. He wanted to work with his country’s leadership to break the Western monopoly on nuclear weapons. He criticize the monopoly of Western countries on nuclear weapons technology, calling it Western hypocrisy, and question why a few countries should allow to have these weapons for their own protection and defense and others should not. Why? He once said, “I am not a crazy or stupid person. They dislike me and they make all kinds of fabricate and baseless accusations against me because I have spoil their strategic plans. “

Nuclear Deal with Libya

Other people in his network whom I met while I was writing the book on Abdul Qadir Khan, I felt that they were motivate by money. His nuclear deal with Libya in the 1990s, which gave him more money, also accelerate his downfall. The British intelligence agency MI6 and the American CIA began monitoring Abdul Qadeer Khan. Monitoring his international travels, tapping and intercepting his phone calls and his networks. It infiltrate and for this, he also offer huge sums of money to the people involve in AQ Khan’s network. In some cases, at least a million dollars were offer to recruit members of their network. To become their agents and obtain their secrets.

Mass Destruction

A CIA official said, “We were inside his house, we were in his offices, we were in his rooms.” After the 9/11 attacks. The threat that terrorists could gain access to weapons of mass destruction. Was heighten and that was the difficulty and complexity in dealing. With Pakistan and persuading it to act against Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan.

In March 2003, as the United Kingdom and the United States were invading Iraq. Over weapons of mass destruction, which were later discover to be non-existent. Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi decide to abandon his plans for his nuclear program. The plan led to a secret visit by MI6 and the CIA. And soon after the deal was publicly announce. It provide the US with an important opportunity to urge Pakistan to Take action against Abdul Qadeer Khan.

Under House Arrest

Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan was subsequently place under house arrest and force to confess on TV. He live the rest of his life in a strange situation where he was neither free nor imprison. Even today, he is consider a national hero by the people of Pakistan for making the atomic bomb. He was barred from traveling and speaking to the outside world. The real story of what he did and why he did it may never known. However, he is the hero of Pakistan and will always be, may Allah raise his ranks. Amen.

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