Pakistan nuclear scientist AQ Khan, at centre of proliferation scandal, dies | Inquirer News
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Pakistan nuclear scientist AQ Khan, at centre of proliferation scandal, dies

/ 03:47 PM October 10, 2021
pakistan khan

Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan is photographed after a silent prayer over the grave of his brother Abdul Rauf Khan, during funeral services in Karachi May 8, 2011. REUTERS FILE PHOTO:

KARACHI, Pakistan — Abdul Qadeer Khan, a Pakistani nuclear scientist who acknowledged being part of a nuclear proliferation ring, died on Sunday. He was 85.

Khan was admitted to Khan Research Laboratories Hospital on Aug. 26 after testing positive for COVID-19 and was later moved to a military hospital in Rawalpindi, said the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan.

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“He was loved by our nation bec(ause) of his critical contribution in making us a nuclear weapon state,” Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Twitter. “For the people of Pakistan he was a national icon.”

He was at the centre of a global nuclear proliferation scandal in 2004 that involved sales of nuclear secrets to North Korea, Iran and Libya. After a confession on national television, Khan was pardoned by then-president Pervez Musharraf but he remained under house arrest for years in his palatial Islamabad home.

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In his confession, Khan said he acted alone without the knowledge of the state officials. However, he later said he had been scapegoated.

“He helped us develop nation-saving nuclear deterrence, and a grateful nation will never forget his services in this regard,” Pakistani President Arif Alvi said in a tweet.

Prime Minister Khan, who is not related to AQ Khan, said the scientist would be buried at Islamabad’s Faisal mosque, according to his wishes.

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