Nuclear scientist Dr Samar Mubarakmand lauded Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program for his initiating the enrichment work in Pakistan’s nuclear scene.
Dr Mubarakmand went on to give credit to Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan for starting the enrichment work.
“It’s been 20 years since he retired, and people he trained and motivated are doing some really good work,” he stated.
Even after retirement, Dr AQ Khan did not rest. He established a chain of schools and colleges, technical institutes and hospitals, said Dr Mubarakmand.
Dr Mubarakmand said that although Pakistan started working on nuclear technology in 1955 and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission was established, the nuclear armament program did not start till 1974.
“A lot of work was done,” he said. “Manpower was trained but nothing for making an atom bomb.”
“It was 1973-74, when Bhutto sahib was in power and India had tested [its nuclear weapon]. Bangladesh had separated from Pakistan and the situation was quite bad, so Bhutto Sahib gathered all the scientists and held a Multan conference. It was there that it was decided Pakistan has to develop nuclear weapons.”
“This was around the same time when Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan wrote a letter to then prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto offering his services and expertise. Back then he was settled in Belgium and working at the Physical Dynamic Research Laboratory which was a subcontractor for Ultra Centrifuge Nederland (UCN). UCN is the Dutch partner in the Urenco uranium enrichment consortium. This is where Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan became familiar with the Urenco centrifuge operations,” he added.
Dr Mubarakmand states that the work was started when Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan returned from Belgium in 1976. He brought some designs with him of how to enrich Uranium to be used in an atom bomb.
Later on, the government established a research lab at Kahuta and Pakistan started enrichment work under Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan’s supervision, the scientist said.
In 1981-82, Pakistan succeeded in enriching uranium, he added.
Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan trained his team and transferred the technology to them. “It had lot of senior people from the atomic commission,” said Dr Mubarakmand.
“Dr Khan was the one who brought this technology. Because he came alone, he had to form a team which included some experienced scientists from the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission,” he conluded.
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