Pakistani scientist who stole Dutch nuclear secrets dead at age 85
Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan died, Pakistani media reported. The founder of the Pakistani nuclear program was 85-years-old.
Khan is known in the Netherlands for using the knowledge he gained at the Urenco ultracentrifuge factory in Almelo to develop a nuclear bomb in Pakistan. Many Pakistanis see Khan as a hero for that reason.
Pakistani Defense Minister Pervez Khattak called Khan’s death a “great loss”. Pakistan will always honor him for the service he has done to his country, the minister said.
Khan voiced complaints last month that neither the prime minister nor other members of the government inquired about his health after he was admitted to hospital. He tested positive for the coronavirus at the end of August, according to Pakistani media.
In 1983, the court in Amsterdam convicted Khan in absentia of nuclear espionage, yet on appeal, he was acquitted due to a formal error. In Pakistan, it had been rumored that Khan sold technology on his own initiative to Iran, Libya and North Korea in the 1990s. In 2013, Khan refuted the rumors saying that he stole technology on behalf of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
Khan was born in India in 1936 and emigrated with his family to Pakistan after the decolonization of the subcontinent. In the 1960s, he studied in Berlin, Delft and Leuven. He subsequently conducted research in the Physical Dynamics Research Laboratory in Amsterdam and at Urenco. In his home country, he founded a conservative political advocacy group in 2012 which was dissolved a year later.
Reporting by ANP.