Is A Q Khan really the father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme?

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by Singh, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Why or how a metallurgist like Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan came to be known as the father of our bomb. What was his role essentially in nuclear weapons production?

    Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan is our self-styled ‘Baba-e-Bum’ and ‘Mohsin-e-Pak’. His extraordinary claim as a nuclear scientist is accepted carte blanche by the youth from the middle classes. Someone has to tell the truth some time. Dr Khan is neither a nuclear scientist nor the father of our nuclear programme. He is however by his own admission a traitor who sold nuclear secrets to various countries of the world, bringing infamy to Pakistan.

    What is a nuclear scientist? The father of the US atomic bomb (and therefore atomic bomb in general) was J Oppenheimer, a theoretical physicist. The father of the Indian nuclear programme, Dr Homi Jehangir Bhabha was also a physicist. How is it then that metallurgist like Dr A Q Khan has come to be known as the father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme or nuclear bomb? Truth be told there are only two people that can be considered pioneers in nuclear programme related research in Pakistan. First is Dr Munir Ahmad Khan of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) who was the real hero of 1998’s nuclear tests and who detonated Chaghi II, a plutonium device, which was much stronger than the uranium devices of Chaghi I. The second person is someone whose contribution to human understanding in Physics is so much more fundamental and greater than any of Pakistan’s other scientists, that to even associate him with a weapons’ programme is to belittle him. He is Dr Abdus Salam who was instrumental in setting up the PAEC.

    That brings us back to the question as to why or how a metallurgist like Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan came to be known as the father of our bomb. What was his role essentially in nuclear weapons production? He was responsible for uranium enrichment, which is in simple terms a separation of U235 isotope from natural uranium, which is mostly U238 isotope. It may also be pointed out that P239 and P241 are also fissile materials that can be used. To oversee uranium enrichment is no doubt an important administrative task. Equally important is to create secure facilities for depleted uranium i.e. U238 isotope left as residue after enrichment. However, could this be enough to declare Dr Khan a nuclear scientist or the father of our nuclear programme? Let me reframe the question: could an aircraft fueller on airport be called the pilot of the aircraft he fuels? This takes nothing away from the importance of the fueller but just as a fueller is not a pilot, Dr Khan is neither a nuclear scientist nor the father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb.

    Doubtless, the job of uranium enrichment is a critical one and requires centrifuges and what not. Did Dr Khan design the centrifuges? No. Pakistan uses gas centrifuge design perfected by URENCO group of Netherlands. Let us not get into where or how we got that. Long story short, the only real job that Dr Khan had — if you think about it — was to securely produce and store enriched uranium as well as depleted uranium. We all know how well Dr Khan did that. Indeed one could say that academically Dr A Q was overqualified to do that job, being a PhD in metallurgy etc. The requisite qualification i.e. honesty and integrity was found utterly lacking in Mohsin-e-Pak, by his own admission.

    The deification of A Q Khan as a national hero is the result of an unthinking and unscientific mindset that is all prevalent in a decadent and declining but paradoxically self-righteous society that we have become. Dr Khan himself is hardly a scientific mind. No number of doctoral degrees can a scientific mind make. The central principles of science are testability and falsifi-ability. It is an undertaking of empiricism as the central determinant of facts, not truth. How does one call a person like Dr Khan, who believes that there was some holy baba in Bhopal who could travel between Bhopal and Delhi in a second by the grace of god, a scientific mind? No wonder Dr Khan admires Agha Waqar and his water car. It would be interesting to find out if Dr Khan advised Agha Waqar recently, on Hamid Mir’s show, to refer to free energy and resonance as a defence for his utterly unscientific hogwash packaged as the ‘water-kit’.

    Even Dr Khan’s general claims fail the test. In his now infamous interview with Dr Aamir Liaqat Hussain, he declared that he was proud of Bhopal because it had neither produced a Qadiani nor a traitor. This itself is empirically untrue. In so far as Bhopali Qadianis are concerned, Obaidullah Aleem, a well respected Pakistani poet, was born in Bhopal and was an Ahmedi by faith as was his Bhopali family. To disprove the claim that Bhopal has never produced a traitor, what do you call a person who puts up Pakistan’s nuclear assets for sale on the international black market?

    Finally, the Indian Supreme Court’s judgment on Ajmal Kasab has a poignant footnote on Mr Jinnah’s deep emotional connection to Mumbai and Taj Mahal Hotel (the scene of Kasab’s massacre), which ends with the Honourable Justices wondering what Mr. Jinnah would have thought of Mumbai attacks. One wonders what he would have thought of Dr A Q Khan, a shameless careerist by any standards, being promoted as a national hero next to a man of towering integrity that Jinnah was? He was lucky to have died when he did.

    Daily Times - Leading News Resource of Pakistan
     
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  3. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    The whole truth — nuclear Pakistan



    I have been associated with Pakistan’s nuclear programme and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission since 1963 and therefore I have firsthand knowledge of the various phases of the country’s nuclear quest. However the sensitive nature of the subject requires that we should be very careful while talking about it. This is what the (late) Chairman PAEC Munir Ahmad Khan impressed upon all his team members. If some self-glorified scientists/engineers have succeeded to reduce his image to the status of a villain, it is due to his modesty and not advertising his achievements in his lifetime. By awarding the posthumous Nishan-i-Imtiaz thirteen years after his death, the president has done no favour to him but has only corrected a wrong.

    Soon after India’s 1974 test, the PAEC decided to adopt centrifuge technology for uranium enrichment and I was tasked by Munir Ahmad Khan to prepare a feasibility on the basis of comparative studies of different enrichment technologies. Previous to this assignment, I was commissioning engineer and incharge of troubleshooting during the commissioning phases of KANUPP. Before that, I had worked at Risley Design Centre with the UK Atomic Energy Authority who had applied two patents in my name, and published eleven technical reports in one year — a rare honour for any nuclear engineer.

    The Enrichment Project, commonly known as the Kahuta Project or KRL was also started by the PAEC in October 1974 with myself as its director. I handed over charge of the project after 33 months on July 17, 1976 to Dr AQ Khan. By then, we had completed the designs for the centrifuge machine and the process plant in the shabby Second World War Army Barracks near Chaklala airport, known as the Airport Development Workshop. We had deliberately left parts of the outer side of ADW unfurnished to maintain secrecy while the inner parts were furnished as per our needs. It was our deliberate policy to give priority to procurements of essential materials and equipment, build manpower and an indigenous base and not waste time on expensive buildings and cars in the initial years.

    We had also managed to procure most of the short term and long term requirements of machinery and materials for the first phase of the project as per our original plan.

    Dr AQ Khan joined the project in early 1976 as Director Research. Prior to this, he was working for us in Amsterdam, Holland. The PAEC team had begun work on local development of a high-speed motor for the centrifuge and the aluminium centrifuge base.

    We also started indigenous development of high frequency generators and bellows using explosive forming techniques. By July 1976, we had installed and commissioned the centrifuge rotor manufacturing machines, electron beam-welding machine, high strength magnet charging machines, and initiated work on high speed bearings, grooving and welding technologies.

    These are few examples only. We had procured large quantities of high strength aluminium and maraging steel for manufacturing centrifuge rotors and other components for centrifuge machines. The team of dedicated scientists and engineers who made the project a success in the initial years and came from the PAEC, among them Dr GD Alam, Anwar Ali, Ijaz Khokhar, Dr Javed Mirza, Brig. Abdus Salam (EME), Col Rashid Ali (EME) and many more illustrious names. Many of them later rose to important positions in KRL under Dr AQ Khan.

    By the time the project was separated from the PAEC, it was on its way to produce weapon-grade enriched uranium by 1980. However, once the project was separated from the PAEC, this target was met several years later and at many times the estimated budget. However, I do not wish to undermine AQ Khan’s contribution in taking the project forward from where we left in 1976.

    Dr AQ Khan succeeded me as head of the Kahuta project on July 17, 1976. He accused me of procuring sub-standard maraging steel and I was later exonerated of this charge. I handed over charge of the project to AQ Khan in the presence of Agha Shahi and Munir Ahmad Khan the same day. I was transferred back to the PAEC and was assigned the job to extend its capacity of the uranium mining and refining project.

    Meanwhile, Munir Ahmad Khan had launched over 20 laboratories and projects in the nuclear programme from 1972-1991, each one essential to acquire nuclear capability. Some of them are the uranium mining, refining, uranium oxide and hexafluoride UF6 production plants (the feedstock for KRL).

    On the plutonium side, it was Munir Khan’s vision to develop plutonium capability for Pakistan and I was assigned the task of designing and building the 50 MW Khushab-1 Nuclear Reactor and metal fuel manufacturing project indigenously for producing plutonium in 1986. The Khushab reactor project was completed within ten years using Pakistani manpower, materials and know-how most economically. Based on this success and the team, which we trained in the PAEC, Pakistan has now expanded this capability by building similar reactors at Khushab.

    It was again the PAEC, which carried out several cold tests of different nuclear weapon designs under the leadership of Munir Ahmad Khan. These tests were conducted by Dr Samar Mubarakmand and Muhammad Hafeez Qureshi. The first cold test of a working nuclear device was carried out on March 11, 1983 at Kirana Hills and President Zia was informed of the results by Munir Khan the same evening. Subsequently, 24 more cold tests were conducted by the PAEC between 1983 and the early 1990s. The second cold test in 1983 was witnessed by Ghulam Ishaq Khan, General KM Arif (Vice Chief of Army Staff) and Munir Ahmad Khan.

    In addition Munir Khan also established the Nuclear Fuel Fabrication Complex, Kundian; New Laboratories Reprocessing Plant, PINSTECH; Chaghi, Kharan and Kirana Hills nuclear test sites; and laid the foundation for the 300 MW Chashma-1 Nuclear Power Plant. The Centre for Nuclear Studies (now a University PIEAS), which has produced indigenous trained manpower for Pakistan’s nuclear programme, was also his achievement. He also built several nuclear agriculture, biotechnology and medical centres across the country. Besides, Pakistan’s first gamma sterilization plant for sterilization of medical products was built in Lahore under my supervision, which is still serving the nation. These facts can be verified from Dr Samar Mubarakmand.

    Pakistan became a nuclear power due to the dedicated efforts of a large team of scientists, engineers and technicians who participated in this sacred endeavour for several decades. The nuclear programme enjoyed complete support of the people, the armed forces and the politicians. There is no single hero of this success story. It has been a great national effort and if credit goes to anybody it goes to the people of Pakistan who sacrificed so much in the shape of sanctions for the success of the programme. Let’s not fight for mundane rewards and belittle each others efforts. If some energy is still left in us, it should be spent only in the service of Pakistan — our Pakistan.

    The whole truth — nuclear Pakistan - thenews.com.pk
     
  4. LurkerBaba

    LurkerBaba Staff Administrator

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    YLF's articles have become painfully predictable. They're either:

    1. Pro-Ahmadi propaganda

    2. Tribute to his prophet Jinnah
     
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  5. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    ^^ and now anti-PPP and pro-PTI.
     
  6. farhan_9909

    farhan_9909 Tihar Jail Banned

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    well i will not give him the whole credit

    the only thing he has contributed to the pak nuclear Program were use stolen centrifug tech

    pak nuclear Program was a joint effort of many scientist and he came at the end with the centrifuge

    just cant post a long post
    read about project 706 in wiki about how the Program started,the parr series reactor and the parr2 indigenous one and many more puch ventures


    THOSE CENTRIFUGE were not just the only thing neede develop the warheads
     
  7. Hari Sud

    Hari Sud Senior Member Senior Member

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    I believe A Q Khan as a metallurgy graduate is as far away from nuclear science of Atom Bomb making as doctor is away from accountant. Yes, he is the best stealer of information. He stole the design and supplier list from Dutch syndicated atomic energy company design for the newest centrifuge design in 1971 under pretext and got away from prosecution. I believe Nixon Administration wished not to disturb the pot by letting him get away. A Q's activities of stealing had come to the notice of Dutch government 1971-73. But Nixon told them to hold off under the pretext of trying to uncover the whole plot. There was no whole plot. He quitely stashed this information in Dutch bank vault, hence committed no espinage but stealing only. It was after he defected back to Pakistan that he began to bring some of the information home by copying it. Latter under threat of prosecution he stopped visiting Europe. His daughter and wife began doing that job. They never transferred the origonal, hence no espinage was committed. Much of the info is still in Europe in unknown vaults; which he threatened to unveil if Musharraf chased him too much.

    It took 10 years from 1973 till 1984 to procyure parts, maraging steel and electrical to build the first prototype. It had cost pakistan $4 billion. The bomb grade Uranium was produced by mid eighties when Reagan needed Zia Up Haq to prosecute war in Afghanistan against the Soviet union. Hence A Q to buy parts in Europe and have them shipped to Dubai for further shipment to Pakistan.

    It is outside of A Q or other Pakistani scientists to build the Uranium bom. China came into the picture.
     

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