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A.Q. Khan, Controversial Father Of Pakistan's Nuclear Program, Dead At 85

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Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan in 2010

A.Q. Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear-weapons program, has died in Islamabad at the age of 85.

Pakistan's PTV state broadcaster announced on October 10 that Abdul Qadeer Khan had died after being taken to hospital with lung problems.

Earlier it had been reported that Khan had contracted COVID-19.

Khan was considered a national hero in Pakistan for making the country the Islamic world's first nuclear power.

Pakistan conducted its first successful nuclear-weapons test in May 1998. Regional rival India conducted its first nuclear-weapons test in 1974.

Pakistani President Arif Alvi posted on Twitter that "a grateful nation will never forget his services."

Prime Minister Imran Khan described A.Q. Khan as "a national icon," adding that he was “loved by our nation.”

Defense Minister Pervez Khattak posted on Twitter that he was "deeply grieved" by Khan’s passing, calling it a "great loss" for Pakistan.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed told GeoTV that a state funeral would be held for the scientist.

Khan’s career was dogged by accusations that he was involved in selling nuclear secrets to countries including North Korea, Iran, and Libya.

In February 2004, he appeared on Pakistan state television and confessed to running a proliferation ring. He was subsequently pardoned by President Pervez Musharraf.

In December 2006, the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission (WMDC) ruled that Khan could not have acted "without the awareness of the Pakistani government."

In 2008, Khan blamed the proliferation scheme on Musharraf, calling him the "big boss" of the deals.

Khan was born on April 1, 1936, in Bhopal, India. He migrated to Pakistan in 1947. He acquired his nuclear engineering degree in the Netherlands in 1967 and later earned a doctorate in metallurgical engineering in Belgium.

He was the laureate of three Pakistani presidential awards.

With reporting by AFP, Reuters, GeoTV, and Gulf News
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