ISLAMABAD: Renowned nuclear scientist and national icon Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan has been buried in Islamabad on Sunday.
His funeral prayers were earlier offered at the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad on Sunday.
A large number of people were in attendance, despite rain which began to pour shortly before the prayers, at 3:30pm.
Two separate enclosures were arranged within the mosque premises, of which one expressly catered to the general public.
Khan, 85, passed away early Sunday morning after his health deteriorated.
The health condition of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear programme, started deteriorating Saturday night, after which he was brought to the KRL hospital Sunday morning in an ambulance at 6:00 am.
Sources said the nuclear scientist experienced discomfort in breathing after which he was brought to the hospital. However, his health took a turn for the worse when his lungs started bleeding.
Doctors tried their best to save the renowned scientist's life, however, were unable to do so and he passed away at 7:04am. Doctors have said Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan passed away as his lungs collapsed.
Speaking to Geo News, Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed said that Dr AQ Khan will be buried at the H-8 graveyard, in accordance with his family's as well as his own wishes.
Rasheed confirmed that the government will accord a state funeral to the scientist in recognition of his services for Pakistan.
The interior minister said Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan had helped him a lot with educational activities, adding that he had remained a visionary leader in times when Pakistan was going through a sensitive period.
"He is indeed the Mohsin-e-Pakistan," said Rasheed.
The minister later spoke at a press briefing, saying that Prime Minister Imran Khan had directed all cabinet members to attend Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan's funeral.
"He was a great scientist. He served his country and served it with dignity and hard work," the minister stressed. "The entire country respects him and he will be buried with honour today at 3:30pm."
He informed media that the security has been alerted for the funeral.
Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan became a national hero overnight, not only in Pakistan but in the Islamic world as well, when in May 1998 Pakistan gave a befitting response to India by conducting its nuclear tests.
Following the tests, Pakistan became the sole nuclear power in the Muslim world and the seventh country to possess nuclear weapons. Pakistan's nuclear weapons have kept Indian aggression in check.
Prime Minister Imran Khan praised Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan by saying that he was, for the people of Pakistan, "a national icon".
"Deeply saddened by the passing of Dr A Q Khan. He was loved by our nation bec of his critical contribution in making us a nuclear weapon state. This has provided us security against an aggressive much larger nuclear neighbour. For the people of Pakistan he was a national icon," he tweeted.
President Arif Ali also expressed sadness at his death.
PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif praised Dr AQ Khan, saying that the country has lost a true benefactor today.
Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar prayed for Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan's soul after hearing about his demise.
He paid tribute to the nuclear scientist by saying that he played a key roe in making Pakistan invincible.
Defence Minister Parvez Khattak said he was deeply grieved over the news of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan passing, adding that "Pakistan will forever honor his services to the nation".
Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood heaped praise on the nuclear scientist, referring to him as the "pioneer of Pakistan's nuclear program".
"Sad to learn of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan’s death. He was a pioneer of Pakistan’s nuclear program and contributed immensely to our security. May his soul RIP," he tweeted.
Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan's death was a loss for the nation.
Islamic scholar Maulana Tariq Jameel prayed for the soul of the deceased and appreciated his services for Pakistan.
"Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan was a precious asset for Pakistan," he tweeted. "He played a key role in ensuring Pakistan became a nuclear power."
Dr AQ Khan's life at a glance
Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, born on April 1, 1936, in Bhopal, India, was a renowned Pakistani metallurgist and nuclear scientist.
He was among those who migrated to Pakistan in 1947 with their families.
Khan is widely regarded as the "Father of Islamic Nuclear Bomb" or founder of gas-centrifuge enrichment technology for Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent program as he developed the Muslim world's first atomic bomb.
He acquired his engineering degree from a university in the Netherlands in 1967 and later went on to secure a doctorate in metallurgical engineering from Belgium.
Dr Khan was the first Pakistani was awarded three presidential medals. He has been awarded the Nishan-e-Imtiaz (Order of Excellence) twice and the Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Crescent of Excellence) once.
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