Abdul Qadeer Khan
Abdul Qadeer Khan (April 1, 1936 in Bhopal, British India - October 10, 2021 in Pakistan) was a Pakistani metallurgical engineer known as the founder of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program. He also sold nuclear weapons technology to Iraq, Iran and Libya, among others, and was therefore charged with treason in Pakistan, but was acquitted.
Khan was born near Bhopal in British India and moved to Pakistan after the division of the Indian subcontinent in 1952.
Khan studied engineering in Pakistan and then in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, among others. In 1974, India's rival, India, fired a nuclear weapon, and while working at a uranium enrichment plant, Khan espioned the gas centrifuge technology needed to produce uranium suitable for nuclear weapons for Pakistan. He was supported by a network of Pakistani agents.
When Khan returned to Pakistan in 1976, he set up a nuclear research institute in July. Pakistan began producing high-enriched uranium suitable for nuclear weapons in 1986. Khan was involved in nuclear weapons cooperation with China and North Korea in the 1980s and 1990s. In March 1998, reports appeared in the press that Khan had sold nuclear weapons information to Iran. That same year, Pakistan blew up its own nuclear charge in return for India’s nuclear tests, and Khan became a national hero.
In 2001, Khan was fired because the United States accused Pakistan of disseminating nuclear weapons information. The Pakistani opposition strongly opposed the dismissal and was promoted to the position of minister. In October 2001, the Pakistani regime arrested two scientists close to Khan on suspicion of Taliban ties.
In 2004, the Pakistani administration began investigating Khan's nuclear proliferation activities, which included the export of nuclear-related technology and drawings to North Korea, Libya and Iran. On February 4, 2004, Khan confessed on Pakistani television that he had exported nuclear weapons information to other countries, and the next day Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf pardoned him. Khan spread nuclear technology in his own words because he wanted to defy the West, support Muslim countries and make money. Despite his actions, he remains a popular figure in Pakistan.
In 2006, Khan was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The tumor was operated on at a hospital in Karachi.
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