Home Features The Man Who Designed Pakistan’s Bomb

The Man Who Designed Pakistan’s Bomb

by Pervez Hoodbhoy
Photo illustration by Minhaj Ahmed Rafi

Photo illustration by Minhaj Ahmed Rafi

Theoretical physicist Riazuddin died in September. Pity no one noticed.

When Riazuddin—that was his full name—died in September at age 82 in Islamabad, international science organizations extolled his contributions to high-energy physics. But in Pakistan, except for a few newspaper lines and a small reference held a month later at Quaid-e-Azam University, where he had taught for decades, his passing was little noticed. In fact, very few Pakistanis have heard of the self-effacing and modest scientist who drove the early design and development of Pakistan’s nuclear program.

Riazuddin never laid any claim to fathering the bomb—a job that requires the efforts of many—and after setting the nuclear ball rolling, he stepped aside. But without his theoretical work, Pakistan’s much celebrated bomb makers, who knew little of the sophisticated physics critically needed to understand a fission explosion, would have been shooting in the dark.

A bomb maker and peacenik, conformist and rebel, quiet but firm, religious yet liberal, Riazuddin was one of a kind. Mentored by Dr. Abdus Salam, his seminal role in designing the bomb is known to none except a select few.

Spurred By Salam

Born in 1930, Riazuddin and his twin brother, Fayyazuddin, were often mistaken for each other. Like other lower middle class Muslim children living in religiously divided Ludhiana, they attended the Islamia High School run by the Anjuman-i-Islamia philanthropy. The school had no notable alumni, and was similar to the town’s single public and two Hindu-run schools. Nothing suggested that these two boys squatting on floor mats, laboriously writing Urdu alphabets on wooden tablets, were to become anything special.

In March 1947, as the creation of Pakistan from India drew close, communal riots engulfed the Punjab. Neighbor turned against neighbor; the soil was drenched with blood as entire populations migrated from one side to the other. Riazuddin’s family entered Pakistan from the Wagah border in early October. The brothers enrolled at Lahore’s MAO College but soon moved to Government College, where they performed well but not spectacularly so. A teacher suggested that Riazuddin study physics rather than engineering. Riazuddin agreed, and Fayyazuddin followed.

This rather uninteresting situation changed dramatically in 1951 when Salam came to town. Then 25, Salam was a rising star in the world of high-brow physics having just solved an important problem in quantum field theory, a newly emerging subject that was beyond the comprehension of all but the top-ranking physicists of the time. For his research on “overlapping divergences,” Salam was awarded the Adams Prize and offered a professorship at Cambridge University. He declined the offer and signed up instead as a professor of mathematics at Government College.

In Lahore, one of Salam’s first initiatives was to introduce a course in quantum mechanics at Punjab University. Drawn by his reputation, students flocked to it; but only Riazuddin and Fayyazuddin could survive the tough mathematics involved. A disheartened Salam never taught the course again. But he had already identified the twins to be the best and brightest of those he encountered. Riazuddin was later invited to become his Ph.D. student at Cambridge. Helped by Salam, Fayyazuddin went to Imperial College London a couple of years later.

The rest is history. As a student at MIT in the 1970s, I would sometimes be asked by my professors if I knew Riazuddin, to which I replied yes with some pride. His Ph.D. thesis in 1958 on certain regularities underlying nuclear forces had been noticed as a piece of important work, but his subsequent works elevated him to the ranks of the world’s better known physicists. His 1968 book, Theory of Weak Interactions in Particle Physics, coauthored with C. P. Ryan and Robert E. Marshak, became a bible for physicists.

Another exceptionally important piece of work by Riazuddin was done together with Fayyazuddin, who became a prominent physicist in his own right. This work became widely known in physics literature as the Kawarabayashi-Suzuki-Riazuddin-Fayyazuddin Relation. The Pakistani and Japanese authors had done their respective work separately. Kawarabayashi and Suzuki acknowledged that they only became aware of Riazuddin and Fayyazuddin’s work after they had completed their own. The Relation has stood the test of experiment, but even today continues to tantalize physicists—because it works so much better than it really should.

Atomic Enterprise

The story of Pakistan’s bomb, at the least its early beginnings, is well known by now. In the aftermath of Pakistan’s humiliating defeat in December 1971, President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto convened a meeting in Multan on Jan. 20, 1972, to which the country’s preeminent scientists were invited. Bhutto exhorted them to make an atomic bomb, a desire he had first articulated in 1965. Now, it would be a means of avenging national humiliation. I. H. Usmani, then chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, opined that making the bomb was beyond Pakistan’s reach. Bhutto did not want to hear that. Usmani was unceremoniously replaced by Munir Ahmad Khan, an ambitious young engineer with more diplomatic and personal skills than engineering or scientific expertise.

Usmani’s apprehension was reasonable. In 1972, the atomic bomb appeared well out of Pakistan’s reach. Creating the weapons that laid Hiroshima and Nagasaki to waste had required enormous effort and resources. The Manhattan Project, with its secret beginning in 1939, eventually employed nearly 130,000 people and cost about $26 billion. Some of the finest minds in physics gave their undivided attention to splitting the atom and, in the process, generated new technologies and scientific ideas. Even if Pakistan could somehow marshal the physical resources, how on earth could it get the required intellectual resources?

Time was on Pakistan’s side. Every passing year was putting the bomb within the grasp of more and more nations. Once concealed under multiple layers of secrecy, the science behind the bomb slowly started to make its way out into the open in scientific literature. By the 1970s an enormous amount of such information was accessible; and physicists with sufficient breadth of understanding could do the job.

When Pakistan exploded its bomb in 1998, Riazuddin was pleased but not joyous.

Riazuddin, who was then Pakistan’s leading physicist, was abroad pursuing a scientific collaboration at the time of the Multan meeting. But his twin, Fayyazuddin, was present on the occasion. He shared with me his recollections of Multan: Bhutto’s call to action was not as emotive as were his public speeches. But, he recalled with some amusement, how the assembled scientists sought to outbid each other as though at an auction. Tumbling over one another, each rose to declare that he could make the bomb even faster than the last speaker. At that time none had any idea of what this work entailed. A professor of experimental physics at Government College, Rafi Chaudhry, emphatically claimed that only experimental physicists could make the bomb. To this, Salam—who was there at Bhutto’s special invitation—responded by saying that the nuclear programs of the U.S., Britain, India, and other countries had all been headed by theoretical physicists.

Soon thereafter, perhaps around September 1972, Salam summoned Riazuddin to his office at the International Center for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy. He had decided that Riazuddin was to design the bomb and, immediately upon his return to Islamabad, must create a group of theoretical physicists who would explore various technical aspects: the conceptual design for a nuclear device, calculation of the critical size of the fissile core, working out of a triggering mechanism, and finding the explosive yield for a variety of theoretical designs. Salam had already discussed the matter with Munir Ahmad Khan, with whom he had a warm relationship. Riazuddin should be given this task, Salam said. Khan agreed; and Riazuddin dutifully complied.

Riazuddin set about his assigned task by scouring available literature. He first went through the declassified Manhattan Project report. His scientific visits to the U.S. became more frequent. In 1973, he patiently studied documents at the Library of Congress, and purchased photocopies of a substantial number of unclassified or declassified reports from the Technical Information Service in Virginia. Of particular value was a series of lectures, declassified in 1965, delivered by nuclear physicist Robert Serber. The primer, addressed to members of the Los Alamos Laboratory, proved immensely valuable. While it did not contain detailed, classified information, it laid out all the conceptual issues and turned out to be an excellent starting point for Pakistan’s novice bomb designers. The total cost was only a few hundred dollars.

Armed with his recent findings, Riazuddin returned to brainstorm in 1973 with his colleagues at Islamabad University (later renamed Quaid-e-Azam University). By this time I was a junior faculty member there. The rest of us were dimly aware that something big was going on. We knew that the university was being used as a front organization for buying banned equipment. But it took decades for the whole truth to emerge.

From Riazuddin’s group, even those physicists who were in the know slowly dropped out. Fayyazuddin was not interested but Masud Ahmad, who had just obtained his Ph.D. in physics under the twins, became the second member of Riazuddin’s team. He went on to head a much bigger group eventually and was decorated with the Hilal-e-Imtiaz after the 1998 nuclear tests. The third member was Tufail Naseem, who assisted in programming the huge IBM360 located in the mathematics building.

The calculations Riazuddin carried out were tedious and complex. The plutonium route had been closed for now and Munir Ahmad Khan had tasked him with the following problem: his bomb must use the absolute minimum amount of highly-enriched uranium, and certainly no more than 20 kilograms. As a particle physicist he had a reasonable understanding of nuclear physics, but knew no hydrodynamics or how matter behaved under extreme compression. This knowledge is crucial for designing an implosion bomb because the high explosive surrounding the bomb’s core creates a shockwave that makes jelly out of even the toughest metal. These unfamiliar things had to be learned from books and papers. Like any good theoretical physicist, Riazuddin refused to accept what the computer churned out until he could verify it by using some clever analytical techniques.

Kicking the Closet

Pakistan’s successful nuclear tests of May 1998 were the joint result of many who worked on its myriad aspects—mining, conversion of uranium to uranium hexafluoride gas, enrichment, metallization, explosives, device fabrication, testing equipment, etc. But everything really starts with the design, the very first step of any complex project.

Arguably, the Chinese bomb design that Pakistan received sometime in the 1980s—and which the Americans say had been passed on by Dr. A. Q. Khan to the Libyans and Iranians—made the work easier. I do not think the Americans are lying when they say they confiscated the detailed bomb drawings in 2004 together with other nuclear materials from the ship BBC Cargo. In fact, around 1994 or 1995, Munir Ahmad Khan whispered to me confidentially, while we sipped tea in his drawing room, that the Americans had angrily told him that Pakistan possessed detailed Chinese blueprints and drawings. But even these drawings would have been nearly useless without a sound understanding of the underlying theory. The Libyans, given the same drawings, could do nothing with them. Moreover, tuning weapons for different yields or exploring different warhead options without sound theoretical physics would have been impossible.

Pakistan erupted in mass jubilation on May 28, 1998—the day the bomb came out of the nuclear closet. Pakistani videos and TV programs of the time show Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif congratulating cheering citizens. The euphoric press compared this historic moment with the birth of Pakistan in 1947. Pakistan’s bomb makers became national heroes. School children were handed free badges with mushroom clouds, poetry competitions around the bomb were organized, and bomb and missile replicas were planted in cities up and down the land (most of these replicas were removed during the Musharraf years). The bomb had attained mythical status; it became an article of faith for the guarantee of national security into perpetuity.

Riazuddin was pleased but not joyous. He accepted quiet congratulations from his former colleagues, with whom he had ceased to have a working relationship many years ago, and he also accepted a high government award, the Hilal-e-Imtiaz. For Riazuddin, the bomb was a necessary evil, and a cause for worry. Pakistan and India were heading toward a debilitating and dangerous arms race. What could be done about it?

Some weeks after the 1998 tests, Riazuddin wrote to Sharif pleading that Pakistan should now sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty. The first would prohibit more test explosions, which in any case were not essential, while the second would limit the size of the nuclear arsenal and prevent a sharp upward spiral in warhead numbers, costs, and dangers. As quid pro quo, he said, Pakistan should insist on nuclear-power technology transfer from the West. He received no reply. Quite possibly Sharif did not know how much the bomb owed to Riazuddin.

Nuclear Burden

Riazuddin and Dr. Abdus Salam. Courtesy of Fayyazuddin

Riazuddin and Dr. Abdus Salam. Courtesy of Fayyazuddin

Many Pakistanis think that Salam was opposed to making the bomb. Some say he played no role in it. This is wrong—he did want Pakistan to have the bomb, but felt that he had more important things to do than work out its minute details. The job of theoretical physicists like Salam is to uncover nature’s secrets at the very deepest level; they think that applications of such discoveries, if any, matter less. Even if they had not developed the world’s first atomic bomb, Robert Oppenheimer, Edward Teller, Hans Bethe, and Enrico Fermi would still have been enshrined in the history of physics for discovering fundamental principles.

Information from multiple sources suggests to me that Salam did not do any bomb calculations himself. As a frontrunner in the world of physics, he was after bigger fish, not merely retracing the footsteps of his illustrious predecessors. And so he tasked his student, Riazuddin, with setting up a group of theoretical physicists. Although he lost power and influence in Pakistan after 1974, Salam continued to favor the bomb and to strongly push for its development. Those involved in bomb-design calculations were frequently invited to Trieste to use its ample library facilities. Earlier, Salam had advised the PAEC to purchase a plutonium reprocessing plant from France. That deal fell through after the Indian tests of 1974 and the growing suspicion that Pakistan would travel India’s route.

Riazuddin recalls that around December 1973 he had accompanied Salam and Munir Ahmad Khan to the Wah Explosive Factory and met its head, Lt. Gen. Qamar Ali Mirza. He saw TNT for the first time, and recognized from the Manhattan Project report that an explosive called Composition B was used. The Directorate of Technical Development group, created by Munir Ahmad Khan, and later headed by Riazuddin, carried out experimental work on the high explosives needed for triggering implosion, explosive lenses, fast detonators, as well as on the necessary neutronics and electronics.

Riazuddin was gentle and unassuming, the sort who couldn’t hurt a fly. So what made him go for designing nuclear weapons, each of which could easily snuff out a hundred thousand lives? Was he like Oppenheimer, who had felt uncomfortable after Hiroshima and subsequently refused to work on the bomb?

I do not think so. Apart from the Hilal-e-Imtiaz, Riazuddin accepted various government awards given to him by the government for his “services to the nation,” a euphemism for his bomb work. His unpublished notes, which I have seen, also do not reveal regret; in fact, these exhibit some measure of satisfaction over having done the job right. His mentor and ideal, Salam, was a very different personality. Unlike Riazuddin, he was articulate, assertive, and fully capable of defending his turf. Two very different people agreed that the bomb must be built. Why?

One can only guess at the motivations: it is generally true that scientists who participate in defense-related work achieve positions of much greater importance and wield much clout. (Certainly, Oppenheimer and Teller were the most sought after scientists in their days. Salam also admired Homi Jehangir Bhabha, a fine physicist and fierce nationalist who was the force behind India’s nuclear program.) In those days one could be an Ahmadi and a Pakistani nationalist, and Salam was both. He bought into the idea of rapidly modernizing the nation under Gen. Ayub Khan, becoming the government’s science adviser.

Riazuddin was accused of being an Ahmadi. Why else was he so close to Salam?

It is interesting to compare the attitudes of Pakistan’s various bomb makers. Dr. A. Q. Khan and Dr. Samar Mubarakmand, Pakistan’s much celebrated scientists, frequently articulate in public their strong, visceral anti-Hindu feelings. This can perhaps be understood from the gut-wrenching partition of India, when Hindus and Sikhs and Muslims mass-slaughtered each other. On the other hand, Salam and Riazuddin never exhibited such hatreds—even though Jhang, Salam’s birthplace, and Ludhiana, Riazuddin and Fayyazuddin’s birthplace, had seen some of the worst atrocities. Was their attitude different from that of other nuclear scientists because of their exposure to the wider world of science?

Salam coauthored works with several scientists who were Hindu. While in Italy, one of his most productive scientific collaborations was with Jogesh C. Pati of the University of Maryland, resulting in the famous Pati-Salam Model for proton decay. When Salam received the Nobel Prize for physics in 1979, India immediately conferred on him a national award. (I suspect few of Salam’s Indian colleagues knew of his nuclear past.) Pakistan’s then-president Gen. Zia-ul-Haq would grudgingly honor him a year later.

That Salam eventually distanced himself from Pakistan’s nuclear program is no mystery. He had no option. Parliament’s 1974 decision to declare Ahmadis heretics was a sharp turning point for him and his community. Every religious minority in Pakistan is hounded and harassed, but none is more relentlessly persecuted than the Ahmadis. In retrospect, they had erred fatally by raising the demand for Pakistan.

The older Salam was a different Salam. Although I had met him a few times beginning in 1971, it wasn’t until 1984 that we actually engaged. On the one hand, he had grown more attached to his faith, a fact that led to some tension in our conversations during my visits to Trieste; on the other, he became more inclined toward advocating world peace, disarmament, and turning “swords into ploughshares.” By the late 1980s, I think he would have preferred to forget his initial contributions to the bomb.

Riazuddin was not an Ahmadi, but was accused of being one—a well-tested and easy way for jealous detractors to defame and endanger a rival. Why else, they argued, was he so close to Salam? Riazuddin shrugged off the allegation. But his world, like Salam’s, had also opened wide through international travels. Riazuddin’s scientific collaborators were many—American, British, Italian, and Indian. This stands in sharp contrast with A. Q. Khan and Mubarakmand, neither of whom had Indian collaborators. Their work, although also essential for bomb making, was entirely concentrated on the engineering and managerial aspects.

Quiet Rebel

By nature a conformist rather than a dissident, Riazuddin was a religious man who said his prayers five times a day. His instincts were to agree and obey rather than argue. But he was also a technology enthusiast. His expectation, which seemed a tad unrealistic to me, was that the advanced technology demanded by the bomb would automatically usher in a new technological age for Pakistan and strongly boost local research and development. To his chagrin, nothing of the sort happened. Instead, even components that could be made locally were imported and reverse engineering was rewarded. Worse, undocumented financial transactions led to massive corruption within the nuclear establishment. His bomb-related budget in the 1970s had been just a few thousand dollars, of which he had to give complete accounts to the PAEC. But later, undocumented millions would be spent without a trace.

Clashes with the establishment became frequent after Riazuddin became director of the National Center for Physics at Quaid-e-Azam University. He sought to make the center a nucleus for Pakistani and international scientists. It would, he hoped, provide intellectual leadership, have an open atmosphere, and would be closely modeled along the lines of Salam’s center in Trieste. But, with real controls resting elsewhere, the center eventually became a mere appendage of the national-security establishment, staffed by retired colonels and brigadiers, and forced to bow to their pressures. Not unexpectedly, its role in nurturing physics has been minimal.

Crisis followed crisis. One of particular seriousness involved me as well. In 2006, for unclear reasons, Riazuddin’s bosses took fancy to a particular kind of machine known as a Van de Graaf accelerator or Pelletron. This had been used in the early days of nuclear research and, although it had doubtful research utility, came with a hefty price tag of over Rs. 400 million. They decided to extract this sum from the Higher Education Commission, which was then flush. Upon reading in the newspapers that this albatross was purchased in the name of my department, I immediately protested with HEC’s top management, who defended the plan and told me that Riazuddin had signed off on the proposal. Horrified, I called Riazuddin. He admitted that he had succumbed to pressure “from above.”

But to his credit Riazuddin decided then to stand up and fight to prevent the import of a useless piece of costly junk. The peeved czars of the nuclear establishment brought in their troops—nearly 150 technical personnel from the PAEC, Kahuta Research Laboratory, and the National Engineering and Scientific Commission filled the auditorium of the physics department of Quaid-e-Azam University in 2007. None among them knew anything about the scientific purposes of the Pelletron, nor cared. They came solely with instructions to abuse and insult Riazuddin and myself, often using crude language. The short of it: the Pelletron was imported and installed. It stands at the center as a monument to shortsightedness and willful wastage, with no significant scientific output. A second one, installed at Government College, Lahore, saw a similar fate. Riazuddin paid the price for his dissidence: he lost his job.

A quintessential scientist who patiently worked on his calculations until almost the very end, Riazuddin published his last physics research paper in 2013—a remarkable feat for an 82-year-old. For one who had helped set Pakistan on its nuclear path, the farewell Riazuddin got from a bomb-loving nation was surprisingly low key. The country’s powerful nuclear and security establishment was clearly not willing to celebrate a man who had rebelled against it.

Dr. Hoodbhoy is the Zohra and Z. Z. Ahmed distinguished professor of physics and mathematics at Forman Christian College University, Lahore. From our Dec. 7, 2013, issue.

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Jan Ryan November 30, 2013 - 9:19 pm

“The primer, addressed to members of the Los Alamos Laboratory, proved immensely valuable. While it did not contain detailed, classified information, it laid out all the conceptual issues and turned out to be an excellent starting point for Pakistan’s novice bomb designers. The total cost was only a few hundred dollars.”

US Military going berserk when its blatantly unethical, counterproductive and ineffective military practices are being exposed yet this dangerous info is for sale for a few hundred dollars. PR is considered so much more important than bomb technology.

imran November 30, 2013 - 9:25 pm

Thank you Dr. Hoodhboy! I never knew about Riazzauddin and his achievements before, but now I do.

Scorched_Earth November 30, 2013 - 10:15 pm

The author claims Mr. Munir A Khan did not have the right scientific or engineering expertise. Here is a brief biographical sketch of his professional, technical and managerial experience and expertise that was needed to conceive, manage and complete over 20 critical projects in the nuclear fuel cycle and the weapons program as Chairman of PAEC from 1972-1991. It was his international contacts and diplomatic skills that helped Pakistan procure much needed materials, machines and equipment for various projects and deflect international pressure on Pakistan to do get the job done.

1. M.S Electrical Engineering, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, USA. 1952.

2. Post-graduate research in Electric Power and Atomic Energy at the Illinois Institute of Technology 1953-1956. Also worked with Allis Chalmers Manufacturing Company as System Planning Engineer.

3. Elected to the Sigma Xi Research Society of America for noteworthy achievement in scientific research in 1956.

4. Selected for the U.S. Atoms for Peace Program and graduated in nuclear engineering from the International Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering, Argonne National Laboratory in 1957.

5. Research Associate/Reactor Design Engineer (Worked on Modifications of CP5- Reactor), Nuclear Engineering Division, Argonne National Laboratory, 1956-1957.

6. Reactor Design Engineer (Worked on Thermodynamic Design of Japan Research Reactor-2), Reactor Division, American Machine Foundry-Atomics, Connecticut, USA, 1957-1958. He was offered to work with the US Nuclear Reactor Construction Company, Westinghouse in 1958 but instead joined the IAEA in Professional Grade P5, Department of Technical Operations.

7. First Officer, Nuclear Power and Reactors Division, IAEA, 1958-1961 in Professional Grade P5.

8. Senior Officer, Nuclear Power and Reactor Technology and Applications, Reactors Division, IAEA,1961-1968.

9. Director, Reactor Engineering and Nuclear Fuel Cycle, Reactors Division, 1968-1972.

10. Scientific Secretary, United Nations International Geneva Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, 1964-1971.

11. Chairman, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, 1972-1991.
12. Member, Board of Governors, IAEA, 1973-1990.
13. Chairman, Board of Governors, IAEA, 1986-87.
14. Fellow, International Nuclear Academy.
15. Member, International Consultative Group on Nuclear Energy.
16. Founding President, Pakistan Nuclear Society.
17. Advisor, Islamic Development Bank on Science and Technology.

Zain December 1, 2013 - 8:26 am

@Scorched_Earth: What Dr Hoodbhoy is claiming – and rightfully so – is that Munir Ahmed Khan was not a theoretical physicist, who could thus be tasked with bomb core and related design work. He was an engineer and applied physicist and his managerial work and legacy as a pioneer has been defended by Dr Hoobhoy against attacks by a jealous AQ Khan.

Copy-pasting Munrir Ahmed Khan’s CV from the Wikipedia page does not affect the merits of the small claim that Dr Hoodbhoy made. Trying to post a summary of posts he occupied is trying to say Wasim Akram got 400+ wickets in an argument over who the best batsman ever was.

Tussiaf Ali December 2, 2013 - 12:36 am

What Hoodbhoy claimed about Mr Munair is that He is engineer and not a scientist(many engineers are scantiest too and carry good research) whom did any good research and add to engineering Knowledge by writing good book or some standard research articles.
I can give you example in Punjab university one Prof Shauket has wrote 300 research papers in Relativity. But much of all these are use less as very few people found them worthy to read.

So talk in scientific way here just prove if he is good scientist by having membership of institutions and degree doest not meant you are scientist too. .. Bring up list papers that Mr Munair wrote and what are impact factor of them. I saw his profile He did noting any contribution in scientific knowledge. He is just one engineer with degree from abroad and non else.

Imran Ahmed December 2, 2013 - 2:15 am

Your defence of Mr Munir Khan is unecessary and childish. He is a praiseworthy individual because of his achievements, these achievements are not highlighted by citing the high positions he held, neither do they qualify him for work outside his area of expertise. The author has recognised the man’s contribution and we all respect him.
A headmaster is not necessarily the best teacher in a school or a general the best soldier in an army, etcetera. Headteachers and generals can nonetheless perform a useful role, as can Chairmen of commissions.
You need to re-think your stance.

Dr. N. M. Butt November 30, 2019 - 11:41 pm

Mr Munir Khan was not Founding President of Pakistan Nuclear Society(PNS). The founding elected President was Dr Shamim Chaudhry , a well known chemist at PINSTECH.
I was the director of PINSTECH at the time and was one of the Founding Member of the Pakistan Nuclear Society and second elected President of PNS. The other founding Members I remember were Dr Abdullah Sadiq,Dr Samar Mubarakmand and I think there were some 11 or 12 founding Members of this society.
Munir Ahmad Khan was of course supported the society.

KTShamim December 1, 2013 - 6:25 am

Ahmadis did not err is raising the demand for Pakistan. Ghandi warned us of the same and even then we told Ghandi that Pakistan’s creation is a creation of principle, a right, and we would support this right regardless of any negative consequences that we may subsequently suffer.

Agnikul December 2, 2013 - 10:13 am

Very principled comment. I feel sorry that so many of my non Ahmadi, non Shia, non Christian so called Muslim compatriots are behaving exactly with the tyranny typical of jahaliya they were warned against. I am ashamed of the treatment meted to the patriot Abdus Salam by worthless individuals whom history has already shunned.

KTShamim December 1, 2013 - 6:26 am

And yes … thank you for a nice read. God bless both their souls.

Kakar December 1, 2013 - 11:04 am

A great privilege to read a superp and informative article of a “JAHIL.” It has also set the record straight viz-v-viz contribution of Riazuddin towards making the nuclear bomb. I wish this virus of JAHALAT had infected this country to have saved us from the corrupting influence of demagogues and fanatic who are always out there to undermine the narrative of moderation and tolerance. It is this warped ideological leaning that makes the intellectuals like PH as JAHIL.

Hammad H December 1, 2013 - 11:35 am

Excellent article. Thank you for telling us about the immense contributions of a great scientist that I never knew about. Pakistan has produced such great minds and how we have wasted them. Mediocrity has always been the name of the game here

Dr M A Hussain December 1, 2013 - 3:15 pm

By using a negative tone for Dr A Q Khan and Dr Mund, the writer has clearly expressed his morbid bias, the same syndrome most of the Pakistanis suffer that has resulted in lesser aknowledgment of Dr Salam and others based on personal feelings. Dr Hoodbbhoy is no different.

Hasan December 1, 2013 - 5:40 pm

I think he has given reason for his criticism ie they had no papers published in international journals . Can you deny this fact?

Dr. Aslam December 1, 2013 - 6:53 pm

A person who is biased can never tell the complete truth. He just will tell the his part of story hating and not recognizing others work. This is same with Mr. Hoodboy.

Hasan December 1, 2013 - 10:40 pm

Can you explain where he has been incorrect? Or is it too much to ask?

Agnikul December 1, 2013 - 9:32 pm

Dear Dr Aslam please expound and explain your words further with some logical explanation for your accusation. I would love to hear the complete truth that you speak of provided it is verifiable.

Elle December 1, 2013 - 10:25 pm

Pakistan has done nothing wrong by acquiring its own nuclear bomb. Author has provided the information to the readers which can be understandable by a layman. Pakistanis must be proud of their scientists and achievements they made in past for giving Pakistan deterrence capability, and also a symbol of prestige.

Hasan Ansari December 2, 2013 - 9:43 am

An excellent article.I wish he had not acquiesed to his well known propensity to take pot shots at the other major figures in the project.

Hasan December 2, 2013 - 11:54 am

Why not if he has a legitimate point? Are you an idol worshipper or one interested in facts?

S M Husain December 2, 2013 - 2:58 pm

Well done Dr. Hoodbhoy. The real test of a scientist is the number and “content” of his paper. Our two boys Mr Munir and Dr. Mubarakmund seem to have missed this stage in their careers. We are still waiting for the Gas which Dr. Mubarakmund promised and got the money; this “gaseous” project which was known from day one as a pipe dream. Millions of dollars up the spout !

Commander Shahbaz Azmi (R) December 2, 2013 - 7:28 pm

Excellent article. Thank you Dr Hoodbhoy for sharing with us about the contributions of Mr Riazuddin that I never knew about. Whilst in military service I had the honour of hosting Dr A Q Khan many times, for giving a talk to junior officers. Regrettably, Dr AQ is a loud mouth who not only beats his drum but also while doing so brings down the efforts of all others leading to only one conclusion, DR AQ was a lone ranger and all credit thus must go to him alone.
For sake of history, I think you and other emminent personalities who know the more than what has been accepted as proverbial truth must spill the beans

Scorched_Earth December 2, 2013 - 8:59 pm

Mr. Munir Khan was a reactor engineer and not a scientist. If the number of scientific publications are a measure of someone’s competence and a substitute for practical, managerial and technical experience for conceiving, managing and implementing complex nuclear projects, then literally thousands of Pakistani scientists and engineers in PAEC, KRL and NESCOM have already failed this test for several decades in a row.

Yet they have, as a team, achieved nuclear and missile capability for Pakistan, of which Hoodbhoy has been an ardent opponent. In fact, no Chairman of PAEC or NESCOM, or project directors of in the different projects in the long chain on produce fissile material or reactors or the bomb has exclusive publications to his credit while he was serving in that capacity.

Many publications in scientific journals are the product of joint publications authored by more than one individual working in labs and universities and do not necessarily reflect the exclusive expertise of any individual. Engineers and scientists involved in Pakistan’s nuclear quest have spent their lifetimes working on applied engineering and technology projects and were therefore spared the luxury of producing papers by the hundred, which many in universities have been able to do.

As for Munir Khan, he was a reactor engineer by training and his practical experience on the design of research and power reactors in the US nuclear and power industry during the 1950s is well documented. He derived his managerial and technical experience in supervising complex technical projects by coordinating and implementing nuclear power projects in the United States and several developing countries during the 1960s on behalf of the IAEA that equipped him with the skills necessary to conceive, plan and supervise the development of the nuclear fuel cycle, and nuclear weapons related projects as head of the PAEC for 19 long years.

He has over 100 publications to his credit, on nuclear energy, research and power reactors. A few selected ones follow:

• Small Power Reactor Projects of United States Atomic Energy Commission, Reactor Technology (Washington DC: USAEC,TID 8538, Sept 1961).
• Small and Medium Power Reactors: A Review of their Present Technological and Economic Status, Atomic Energy Review, VoI 8. No. 3,1969.
•Performance of Nuclear Power Reactor Components, Atomic Energy Review, Vol. 8, No. 2, IAEA, 1970.
• Plutonium Utilization in Thermal Reactors, IAEA Technical Report Series, 1968.
•Operating Experience of Power Reactors in Developing Countries, Nuclear Engineering International, June 1970.

Whether he published zero or five hundred papers, the fact remains that he headed the country’s nuclear program for two decades and was able to complete the task assigned to him by Bhutto and Zia to acquire nuclear capability.

In this effort, he was fortunate that he was able to utilize the expertise of such gifted scientists as Dr Raizuddin, Dr. Samar Mubarakmand, Dr. Masud and Dr Ishfaq and engineers such as Hafeez Qureshi, Parvez Butt et.al.

Prof. Riazuddin left PAEC in 1977 and went back to Quaid-i-Azam University but was personally requested by Munir Ahmad Khan to continue as advisor to PAEC. He had immense respect for Prof. Riazuddin and used to address him as Prof. Sahib.

Dr. Mund gets credit for developing Pakistan’s ballistic and cruise missile program, first as head of NDC in PAEC and later as Chairman NESCOM, in addition to conducting the nuclear tests in 1998. Anyone interested in Pakistan’s nuclear history can read Eating Grass: The Making of the Pakistani Bomb (Stanford University Press, 2012).

Hoodbhoy has rightfully eulogized the great contribution of Prof. Riazuddin. It would have been better had he not passed judgements on others involved in the country’s nuclear program who have individually and collectively contributed to Pakistan more the author and who don’t need his endorsement, or for that matter of anyone else, for the acknowledgement of their work, which speaks for itself. Prof. Riazuddin indeed is an unsung hero and a shining star of Pakistan’s nuclear odyssey.

Saeed December 3, 2013 - 12:29 pm

Stop wasting your time and others by copy-pasting Munrir Ahmed Khan’s CV from the Wikipedia page because it does not affect the merits of the small claim that Dr Hoodbhoy made.

Tariq Ansari December 2, 2013 - 9:00 pm

Those who sacrifice for the truth, mostly remain un-sung……

S Tiwana December 3, 2013 - 12:07 am

A great feature by Newsweek; very well written by Mr. Hoodbhoy. Informative and keeps you engaged till the end.
Reminds you that Pakistan is home to some of the greatest thinkers and scientists. If only the mind extends to question and think, we are capable of more than the best.

Ijaz December 3, 2013 - 11:16 am

i bet most of you complaining haven’t even read the entire article.

asghar December 3, 2013 - 11:56 am

Very interesting and absorbing piece of history and courageously brought out by Dr Hoodbhoy, well known for such accounts. Thanks for sharing

Jamil akhtar khalid December 3, 2013 - 1:34 pm

I am happy that Dr Hoodbhoy has revealed all details. Now it is for the GoP to honour Dr Riaz ud Din. I suggest a tech university or an appropriate institution be named after him. We owe him our gratitude and it is the least we should do.

Tahira, USA December 3, 2013 - 7:32 pm

Dr Hoodbhoy has done well to bring to light the contribution of Prof Riazuddin to the bomb project. Whatever percentage he contributed to this project, it must be acknowledged. I consider both brothers to be among the few most precious gems that Pakistan has produced so far, not only for their scientific contributions but also as the most humane persons, with malice towards none and generosity for all.

Muhammad Aslam December 4, 2013 - 8:37 am

This physicist writes good history.

Dr. Hafiz Ur Rahman December 4, 2013 - 10:24 am

Very interesting article and I would like to thank Dr. Hoodbhoy for writing this article. I joined Quaid-i-Azam university in 1973 and was the student of Riazudin, Fiazudin and Hodbhoy. I also had honor to interact with Salam, Teller and many others mentioned in this article. I remember that in M. Phil i took a course of Shock wave theory offered by Riazuddin and I was always wondering because he was famous for high energy and quantum mechanics. Later on I continued my research in plasma physics and used many of the teachings of that course. Now I understand why he taught that course. He was a true physicist and I am proud to be his student. I pray and honor Prof. Riazudin for his great work.

Parvez December 4, 2013 - 4:50 pm

A balanced obituary.

Mian Waheed December 4, 2013 - 6:00 pm

I had met Dr. Munir back in 1982. Then I heard the name of Dr. Riazuddin many years later but never knew anything about him. All the credit of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb went to Dr. Qadir Khan. I had not met Dr. Qadir ever but then listening to him after his fall from grace, I could not come imagine Dr. Qadir being the one (especially Dr. Qadir’s stance of a car running on pure water). Now I know more.

Khadim Ali Hashmi December 4, 2013 - 7:37 pm

Dear Dr. Hoodby, thank you for such a vivid description of the personality of Late Riazuddin. When I joined the Physics Deptt of the PU, as astudent in 1953, Riaz and Fayyaz had completed their Masters. During those days I used tovisit their home in Karishan Nager in the company of their friend Mir Nazir Ahmad, younger brother of Mir Yaqub, former Principal of FC College. Your description matches my impressions of the unassuming Riaz. Though later I had rarely seen him but I have those memories of boyhood.
I partially agree with your comments about the role of people in the nuke. However you have not done justice with Munir Ahmad Khan.
Thank you for a nice article.
Khadim Ali Hashmi

a m malik December 5, 2013 - 12:33 am

All the scientists named in Parvez Hood bhoy’s article and those not named are and were an asset to Our country. Unless we are of that intellectual capacity to place one above another – even then it does not behove us well to belittle any of those learned ones. For us all are towering personalities.
Having said that I will like some one knowledgable to clarify me one thing. Who started the nuclear programme – Ayub Khan or ZAB? I recollect during Ayub’s period Nalore was made -innaugrated in 1963, Kannup’s construction commenced- primarily for collection of Uranium, Suparco for missile testing was completed and ofcourse the plutonium reprocessing plant which could only produce weapon grade plutonium, was offered / signed – but put on hold for sometimes under the advice of his Finance minister Mr Ghulam Farooque, which later was retracted by France, under considerable US pressure , after ZAB’S famous speech, During ZAB’s time I saw Suparco totally non ops/functional, for full seven years ‘s during ZAB’s time, indicating lack of interest by the then GOP i.e ZAB.

Even in this write up Some actions have been mentioned prior ZAB era I..e prior Last week DEC: 1971 indicating that the Making of the Nuke had commenced prior ZAB’s take over.

Tariq Masud December 4, 2013 - 11:01 pm

I knew Riyaz sahib not as a scientist but as a human being. Marhoom was my neighbour and our families were on visiting terms.. Riyaz sahib and his family are genuinely simple and down to earth people. Begum Riyaz herself, and after she was gone ,other female members of the family, themselves manage the household, without a servant .I have often seen Riyaz sahib walking to and returning from the masjid thrice, or at times four times a day.. He was an extremely soft spoken and humane person. .

Imran December 5, 2013 - 9:37 am

Nuclear program is a big thing. A number of scientists and engineers worked to make it reality. But its a pity that public only knows one or two names. All the team members are heros of Pakistan who did a great service and should be respected and awarded without any bias. It is human for scientists and engineers to develop differences at any stage. But this does not deny the facts or services of every individual, whether he was theoatical physicist or mathematician who imagined concept, modeled and solved the equations, or engineers who made the device a reality or even the draftsmen who made drawings. All should be respected. I wish a time will come when everybody will know about the team members of the program. A nation cant succeed unless it recognizes its heros and contibutors and hold them in high esteem as they deserve. Its a very good article which tells us about the Great Dr. Riazudin. People like him deserve double credit or respect.First for being distinguished physicits internationally and he contributed positively for nation. Secondly for he was a great human being who died without even being known. Who did not ran for rewards. These pure scientists, great brains yet down to earth, living simple lives. And who tried to develop newer generations by distributing their knowledge and experience through education. Salute to Dr. Riazuddin and a number of such great people who are not known to public.

Huma khan December 5, 2013 - 10:00 am

Pervez Hoodbhoy’s article on Dr. Riazuddin was a very bold attempt to unfold the great achievements of an unsung hero , in both abstract and applied sides of science. But to keep the record straight, I should point out that when Pervez mentioned that Dr. Riazuddin was awarded the high civil award of Hilal-iImtiaz for his contribution to design and development of nuclear weapons, he should have also mentioned that Dr. Masud Ahmad, whom ,he earlier mentions as the second member of Riazuddin’s team, was also awarded Hilal-i-Imtiaz in 1998, immediately after successful tests by Pakistan. for his contribution also in the same area.

A. B . Khokhar . December 6, 2013 - 3:33 pm

I like the comments of Mr .Tariq Ansari : Those who sacrifice for the truth remain UNSUNG . . . .

Muzaffar Shah December 8, 2013 - 9:18 am

thanks DR. sahib. could ” A Story of THE BOMB ” be complied for the coming generations so that they know and appreciate the role of all the gems who, irrespective of their cast and creed, made the defense of our beloved Pakistan impregnable. I salute to their patriotism, sincerity and selflessness. All of them, top to bottom

buttjee December 8, 2013 - 4:54 pm

I have read many articles written by Pervez Hoodbhoy and have also heard his views in various Television talk shows. I must acknowledge that the man has special knack and a unique ability of creating controversies on any subject which otherwise may seem to be noncontroversial..

Yaser Waseem May 31, 2020 - 3:09 pm


A Khan December 9, 2013 - 8:28 pm

Thank you the Author for an exhaustive recollection of our history. I have listened to Dr A Q Khan formally on at least 4 occasions. He made the audiences believe every time, that he and he alone was the brain behind the bomb. Personally i was inclined to believe otherwise and felt that he was only trying to promote himself. Today, I am much wiser.

Faaiz Amir December 9, 2013 - 10:12 pm

Thank you, Dr Hoodbhoy. Thank you for highlighting Dr Riazuddin’s contributions and filling in many details in our nuclear journey.

pervezak52 December 10, 2013 - 7:53 pm

Thank you Dr.

SHAHID December 12, 2013 - 1:11 pm

Thanks for showing some ignorant fools that Munir Ahmad Khan was no slouch, maybe he was more qualified than this Prof.Hoodwink; who is the author of the article; I for that matter do not know how much Scorched Earth knew about the Khan family. Munir was elder son of Maqsood Ahmd Khan, the irst Post Master General of Pakistan, after partition, and setup the postal systems, regulations, network and philatelic bureau of Pakistan for postal stamps revenue; Other brothers of Munir, all highly educated engineers and advanced engineering scholars. Not to mention Naeem Ahmad Khan, another engineer of class apart par excellence. I happened to be class mate of Azim Ahmad Khan, the youngest of the Khan brothers, graduated Engineering in Pakistan and post graduation in USA, and leaders of engineering technology field, both of us. And you Prof. Hoodwink, talk about non technical expertise etc etc; because Munir was like an unassailable person whom you had no standing chance; Go home Hoodwink, do something else for a change; it may do you some good; which you have not done for my country, ever;

farmerdr December 12, 2013 - 1:46 pm

Your purely emotional, hostile comment is ad-hominem and without logic.

badar khan December 16, 2013 - 3:51 pm

thank u dr hoodbhai for bringing the contribution of dr riazuddin and fayyazuddin in the development pakistans atom bomb to the knowledge of many like me. bravo both doctors. i salute with my both hands.i do also appreciate the contribution of dr muniir ahmad inthis regard . having said that i would like to hear from dr hood the story after arrival of dr qadeer andsubsequent differences between dr qadeerand dr munir. dr hood has done no justice to his standing by completely ignoring vital contribution by latter scientists which culminated in the making of the bomb.abt dr salam , he was a great pakistani and scientist . but no one should expect the majority to accept the views of a minority on any matter including religion and its fundamentals. notwithstanding his faith he was honoured and given key job by govt of pakistan under field marshal ayub

Ijaz December 31, 2013 - 1:27 pm

Dr Riazuddin was involved with the Pakistan nuclear Project from 1973-1976 when he was appointed Member (Tech) PAEC. He formed /help form the then named DTD( Directorate of Technical Development). All The research and development related was germane to theoretical cum Computational Simulation. Dr Masud Ahmed, as rightly pointed out, bore the burden of the Project and continued assiduously till the May 28th 1998 actual test. Dr Riazuddin, after sowing the initial seeds ,together with other theoretical Physicists of QAU helped launch the Project including Dr Munir A Rashid a mathematician par excellence who later shifter to Nigeria having been hounded out by the 1974 ZAB’s faux pas DR Riaz never again returned to the PAEC. The article by the estimable Parvez Hoodbhoy is incomplete without the mention of the experimentalists who worked heart and soul , while being sprinkled all over the Potohar. There were clandestine efforts a galore, which resulted in securing of the device’s parts. The iconic AQKhan himself was a master purloiner who stole the drawings of the centre-fuges. The rest is all history . Elements like Sumarmubarak and GD Alam jumped on the bandwagon only when it had started –they didn’t initiate anything. while those who stood, waited worked and suffered did. It will be ironic to highlight a single icon. The effort was multi faceted and more credit should be due to those who served in silence for more than two decades without complaint and remained rewardless.

Ijaz December 31, 2013 - 1:30 pm

At the end of day the Pakistani bomb /Islamic bomb may turn out to be fools’s gold. !!

Ijaz December 31, 2013 - 3:19 pm

As an aside, on May 28:1998 the day Chagai mountains were turned black because of the hot-test ( the cold test was successfully completed in 1988) , all the Herods gathered around the Chairman PAEC , hats doffed and all alert to garner praise and be visible. That did not go well–for me at least. The Chaghai test was preempted by the Indian nuclear blasts in the month of May ,1998 so why in the name of God should a song and dance have been enacted over an issue purely professional.Stuff happens! Now the catch 22 situation is threadbare –if the n-arsenal were to fall in the hands of AQ — hell certainly will be let loose. Respected readers may want to read an incisive article by Charles P Blair titled” Fatwas for Fission” which is accessible on Google. Have a nice week end!!

Hussain March 9, 2015 - 4:09 pm

Dr. A.Q. Khan is an excellent administrator. I personally saw him moving around to the offices and factories of different vendors to procure parts and equipment for the nuclear program. He was often seen in the firm called ‘Arshad Amjad & Abid’. That company helped him in procurement of certain equipment from abroad. He personally visited Alcop Company and sought their help in development of aluminum porous needles. It will be absolutely ungrateful to ignore his contribution in the nuclear development program.

Hamid Khawaja November 9, 2015 - 5:56 pm

Dr Hoodbhoy has written of the tragedy of our country. Sadly, it is widespread.

knowledge November 12, 2015 - 4:16 pm

Well done to Dr Hoodbhoy for another great article.He misses a few points however:
one is Salam’s first focus for nuclear power was to provide energy for the industrial growth in Pakistan and then secondly it became the basis for the bomb as ZAB pushed for the ultimate weapon.
Second is that though Pakistan publicly turned its back on Salam post 1974 after he resigned, every leader in Pakistan asked Salam privately for help and guidance and Salam gave the best advice he could. He never turned his back on his country.
Riazuddin was a very very smart and intelligent man.

Muhammad Ali Chishty November 14, 2015 - 11:25 pm

I am rather surprised Dr. Hoodbhoy has not acknowledged work of Dr. Qadir Khan who was a key player in final production of the Bomb; otherwise, entire endeavor would have been a well researched thesis without Dr. Khan converting the dream into reality.

Muhammad Mujahid May 30, 2016 - 1:05 pm

We solute him and give value to his contributions but i think Dr. Hood need to consider the importance of contributions that both Dr. A Q khan and Dr. Sammar had made for this cause as they devoted their whole life to that program according to wikipedia
“After all, according to Houston Wood, Professor of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, USA in his article on gas centrifuges, “The most difficult step in building a nuclear weapon is the production of fissile material”.[14][15] There would have been no need to bring A.Q. Khan if Pakistan had the capability to produce fissile plutonium in the early 70s. Pakistan had to bring Dr. A.Q. Khan from Europe to develop fissile uranium after PAEC failed to produce fissile plutonium by the 1976 deadline.[12]”

IJAZ DURRANI May 30, 2016 - 3:58 pm

With the secession of BD, ZAB became the Prez of Pakistan and almost immediately convened a meeting of the technocrats’ in Multan in March 1972. Professor A Salam was the most famous Physicist and adviser to the PAEC. Professor Salam’s students all PhDs and all first rate worked at Physics Department , QAU. Professor Riazuddin headed the Theoretical Wing of the Directorate of Technical Development together with his student Dr Masud Ahmed and a Mathematician Muhammad Tufail Naseem. The DTD was initiated in April 1973. For the technical wing Nuclear Enggs from the PAEC worked in tandem. Dr AQKhan came later in 1974 and insisted that he would do it alone. He prevailed and the KRL was formed in 1976, when Professor Riazuddin left the PAEC after the expiry of his three year contract. Dr Hoodbhoy ‘s article is very well written.The primal effort for the designing of the bomb was made by Dr Riazuddin and his group. After his departure , several other theoreticians joined the group , but they were no patch on him. The technical work was done piecemeal. HEU was ferreted at KRL. Together with AQK there were half a dozen groups in the PAEC who worked in tandem. The cold test was carried out in 1984 while the nuclear blast came 14 years later when our hand was forced by the Indians. Credit has to be shared by all but the first ripple was set forth By Dr Riazuddin —a great particle physicist who was much at home with weak forces as with shock waves. May his noble soul RIP.

IJAZ DURRANI May 30, 2016 - 4:37 pm

This is a brilliant article by Professor DR Pervez Hoodbhoy. It just goes to show that Dr Riazuddin worked with equal felicity with weak forces as with shock waves. There were several other stake holders with the building of the bomb, but the first ripple was set forth by Dr Riazuddin. May his noble soul RIP.

Shakeel May 30, 2016 - 10:49 pm

Thank you Dr. Hoodbhoy……. VERY good and informative article….. Your efforts to research are much appreciated…. That is rare in Pakistani journalism….. Hats off to Dr. Riaz udin

Ricky amartin June 1, 2016 - 7:02 pm

Thanks for writing this. Much appreciated.

Mukhtar Ahmad June 27, 2016 - 12:01 pm

The National Nuclear programme was started at Atomic energy center Lahore in 1970.
Dr.Mukhtar Ahmad and Dr. Shabbir Ahmad had set up small pilot plants for High purity Uranium compounds as UO2 and UF4. However due to East Pakistan Crisis. work was stopped at Lahore center and once again resumed by me and Dr. Shabbir at Pinstech. Nilore, Islamabad.

Hamidullah khan ( Ambassador rtd.) September 17, 2016 - 12:59 pm

How did we treat Dr. Salam’s body on arrival in Islamabad is not a secret. Not even a section officer of the govt. was there. About his love for Pakistan, I happened to be a witness. When he was receiving his Nobel Prize I was posted in Our Embassy in Stockholm coordinating the administrative arrangements. As he was also holding a British Passport every pressure was used by the British that he should accept the Nobel Prize as Brish Citizen. Dr. Salam did not budge. If we could not pay respect to his remains why it should be different for his juniors like Dr. Ziauddin. Regarding Dr. A.Q. Khan our media has created the impression that he is the father of our atom bomb to the extent that even the man who sacrificed his life, the brave Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto has been overshadowed and hardly mentioned. How Dr. A. Q Khan was brought by the late Prime minister Bhutto is a long story.

AS August 2, 2017 - 8:12 pm

Dear Khan Sb
You are 100% incorrect by stating that Abdus Salam held a British Passport. He never ever gave up his sole Pakistani nationality. Indeed he held only two passports: his Pakistan Diplomatic and his United Nations one.
He always loved his country and never turned his back on it. He loved the people, the soil and everything therein. He also made himself available for all the Ministers etc who reached out to him for him.
Only two people disappointed and disgusted him: ZAB and Zia ul Haq.

Ali Khan November 14, 2019 - 5:16 am

This article was mine of information and I thank Dr Pervez for this. The saddest thing about the saga was how Prof Salam was treated by Bhutto.
After receiving the Nobel prize Prof Salam was invited by Princeton University to work with Einstein thanks to his unique knowledge of Mathematics.

But Prof Salam declined and returned to Pakistan where he wanted to set up a research centre in particle physics where scientists of emerging nations would conduct research. He languished as a pariah – Bhutto was in mullahs’ pocket so he returned to Cambridge.

He was though honoured by Europe who gave him the world renowned Centre in Trieste and named it after him!

Now they have mediocre colleges etc in Pakistan named after him. Great shame and hypocrisy. The first Pakistan’s representative to UN was Ahmadi :
Dr Zacatecas Ullah Khan.

Yaser Waseem May 31, 2020 - 3:21 pm

Dr hoodboys explanation and comment about the vehicle operated by water was strange

A. Khaliq June 3, 2020 - 11:15 am

Such an orientalist this guy is.

Jibran June 24, 2020 - 8:56 pm

Very misleading and shallow article by Mr. Hoodbhoy. A single person can not and should not be credited as a creator of an A bomb. It is always a team of hundreds and not having a single person would not make any difference at all. Even if Salam was not there or Riazuddin that would have made no difference. It is silly to believe that one person did the calculations by a pen and paper he is the father of theo physics. The computational work is carried out by computers and checked by a several teams of scientists, engineers and mathematicians. The claim that the photocopies of the design were obtained from a library in USA is ridiculously silly argument.


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