The Full Wiki

More info on Munir Ahmad Khan

Munir Ahmad Khan: Map


Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:

Munir Ahmad Khan (also spelled Ahmed)-Hilal-e-Imtiaz, Minister of State, (Urdu: منير احمد خان) was a Pakistani nuclear engineer, nuclear scientist, Chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission PAEC from 1972-91 and Chairman of the IAEAmarker Board of Governors from 1986-87. Khan is considered as one of the chief architects of Pakistan's nuclear program.

As Chairman of PAEC, and head of the nuclear program, he was the leading force for two decades in Pakistan's drive to become a nuclear power and develop a sustainable nuclear program and its own Atomic Bomb. The nuclear program launched and developed under his leadership eventually culminated in the successful testing of six nuclear devices by PAEC in 1998.That is why he is sometimes referred to as the "God-Father of Pakistan's nuclear program".


Born in Kasur, British Indiamarker in 1926, Munir Ahmad Khan took his Bachelor's degree in physics and mathematics in 1946 from Government College Lahore as a contemporary of the Late Nobel Laureate Dr.Abdus Salam. During his Bachelor's education, he also won an Academic Roll of Honor, subsequently in 1949 he earned a B.Sc in Electrical Engineering from Punjab University's Engineering College, Lahoremarker, while serving as an Assistant Professor. In 1951, Khan traveled to the United Statesmarker (USA) on a Fullbright scholarship and Rotary Internationalmarker Fellowship where he earned an M.S in Electrical Engineering in 1952 from North Carolina State Universitymarker.

He completed his post-graduate research work at the Illinois Institute of Technologymarker from 1953-56. In 1957 he studied Nuclear Engineering with the International School of Nuclear Science and Engineering (ISNSE), at Argonne National Laboratorymarker, Illinoismarker as part of the Atoms for Peace Program. The Argonne National Laboratory, and the ISNSE, were operated by the University of Chicagomarker where, on December 2, 1942 a team of scientists achieved the first self-sustaining chain reaction in a nuclear reactor, which is considered to be a crucial step in the development of the first Atomic bomb.

Work in the United States

While at the Illinois Institute of Technology he was elected to the Sigma-Xi-Research Society of America, in recognition of his research work. While completing his post graduate studies, he also worked briefly with Allis-Chalmers in Milwaukee, WI and later with Commonwealth Edison Chicagomarker, IL/USA.

Career in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

In 1957 he served as a Research Associate in the Nuclear Engineering Division of the Argonne National Laboratory and subsequently in the Reactor Division of the American Machine Foundry Company, AMF Atomics, as Reactor Design Engineer before joining the International Atomic Energy Agencymarker (IAEA) in 1958, becoming a staff member in Professional Grade P-5, where he served in the Division of Nuclear Power and Reactors and headed the IAEA's Reactor Engineering and fuel cycle activities till 1972. He was known in the IAEA as "The Reactor Khan".

His major responsibilities as head of IAEA's Reactor Engineering and Fuel Cycle activities included developing and implementing programs in the field of research in reactor utilization in nuclear centers, technical and economic assessment of nuclear power reactors, world survey of nuclear power plants for developing countries, construction and operating experience with nuclear stations, fast breeder reactors and nuclear desalination.

As a senior IAEA staff member, Munir Khan also organized more than 20 international technical and scientific conferences and seminars on heavy water Reactors, Advanced Gas Cooled Reactors, plutonium utilization, performance of nuclear power plants, problems and prospects of introducing nuclear power in developing countries, Small and Medium Power Reactors and coordination of programs for research in Theoretical Estimation of Uranium Depletion and Plutonium build-up in Power Reactors in the USAmarker, USSRmarker, UKmarker, Francemarker and Canadamarker. In 1961, he prepared a technical feasibility report on behalf of the IAEA on Small Power Reactor projects of the United States Atomic Energy Commission.

While at the IAEA, Munir Ahmad Khan also served as Scientific Secretary to the Third and Fourth UN International Geneva Conferences on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy in 1964 and 1971 respectively. He also served as Chairman of the IAEA Board of Governors from 1986-87 and was the leader of Pakistan's delegations to 19 IAEA General Conferences from 1972-90. He also served as a Member of the IAEA Board of Governors for 12 years.

Relationship with Dr. Abdus Salam

Munir Ahmad Khan and the Nobel Laureate, Dr. Abdus Salam were lifelong friends and associates who studied together at Government College, Lahore. During the late 1960s, they prepared a proposal for setting up a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Pakistan, which was deferred by President Ayub Khan on economic grounds.

Munir Ahmad Khan was the first person at the IAEA who was consulted by Dr. Abdus Salam in September, 1960 about the establishment of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Triestemarker. Following the same tradition, in 1976, Dr. Abdus Salam and Munir Ahmad Khan established the Annual international Nathiagali Summer College on Physics and Contemporary Needs in Pakistan. Within months of Mr. Munir Ahmad Khan's taking over as Chairman of PAEC, in December 1972, Dr. Abdus Salam selected Pakistani theoretical physicists, Dr. Riazuddin and Dr. Masud Ahmad, who were working under him at the ICTP. They were asked to report to Munir Ahmad Khan on their return to Pakistan where they formed the "Theoretical Physics Group" (TPG) in PAEC which would go on to develop the theoretical design of Pakistan's nuclear weapons.

On August, 1996, Mr. Munir Ahmad Khan met Dr. Abdus Salam in Oxfordmarker. Mr. Munir Ahmad Khan wrote:

"My last meeting with Abdus Salam was only three months ago. His disease had taken its toll and he was unable to talk. Yet he understood what was said. I told him about the celebration held in Pakistan on his seventieth birthday. He kept staring at me. He had risen above praise. As I rose to leave he pressed my hand to express his feelings as if he wanted to thank everyone who had said kind words about him. Dr. Abdus Salam had deep love for Pakistan in spite of the fact that he was treated unfairly and indifferently by his own country. It became more and more difficult for him to come to Pakistan and this hurt him deeply. Now he has returned home finally, to rest in peace for ever in the soil that he loved so much. May be in the years to come we will rise above our prejudice and own him and give him, after his death, what we could not when he was alive."

Relationship with Prime Minister Zulifikar Ali Bhutto

In October, 1965, the then Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto visited Viennamarker when Munir Ahmad Khan informed him of the status of Indiamarker's nuclear program and the options Pakistan had to develop its own nuclear capability. Both agreed on the need for Pakistan to develop a nuclear deterrent to meet India's nuclear threat.

Consequently, Mr. Bhutto arranged Munir Ahmad Khan's meeting with then President of Pakistan, Ayub Khan, on December 11, 1965, at the Dorchester Hotelmarker in Londonmarker. When Munir Khan told President Ayub Khan that Pakistan must acquire the necessary facilities that would give the country a nuclear deterrent capability, which were available free of safeguards and at an affordable cost, the President Ayub Khan remained unconvinced.

While this meeting was going on, Prime Minister Bhutto was pacing up and down the hotel lobby, and when Munir Khan came out and told Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto what had happened, he replied, "Don't worry. Our turn will come". This was the beginning of their association which is believed to be akin to that of Dr. Homi Bhabha and Prime Minister Nehru of Indiamarker.

At the inauguration of Karachi Nuclear Power Plant marker on November 28, 1972, Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Mr. Munir Ahmad Khan recalled their past association and similarity of views about developing nuclear capability for Pakistan. While addressing the Chairman of PAEC, Mr. Munir Ahmad Khan, Mr. Bhutto said:

"Since 1965, I have been in close touch with you (Chairman PAEC) and we have had many occasions to discuss how atomic energy can help in the development of our country. That is why soon after assuming this office, I not only placed the Atomic Energy Commission under my direct control, but asked you to return to the country and serve the nation. I am glad that this Commission is on the move with a well-defined and broad-based programme for the future. I believe that Pakistan's survival lies in using nuclear research, nuclear technology, and nuclear power for the betterment of its people. The Government will give the fullest support to the Programme of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission and this country will make the necessary resources available to bring the promise of atomic energy to the people of Pakistan at the earliest possible time".

In his inaugural address, the Chairman of PAEC, Mr. Munir Ahmad Khan addressed the Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto thus:

"I remember the day in October, 1965 when I had the opportunity of discussing with you the tremendous potential which atomic energy had and the role it could play in the development of our country. You not only listened but insisted that I present my view to higher-ups. I went. But my pleadings made no impact and I was dubbed as another mad man who thought like Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. But the times have changed and so has the destiny of our country".

They continued their close association even after Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was overthrown by General Zia and put in jail. Prime Minister Bhutto continued to send messages to Munir Ahmad Khan inquiring about the progress of various projects of the nuclear program who would also visit the former Prime Minister of Pakistan in jail on the pretext of delivering oranges and vitamins to update him on the status of the nuclear program. Former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto also carried messages to Munir Ahmad Khan from her father and back in 1979 as Prime Minister Bhutto had instructed her daughter to remain in touch with the Chairman of PAEC.

Heading Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC)

Therefore, soon after the fall of East Pakistan in December, 1971, Mr. Munir Ahmad Khan was appointed as Chairman of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) on January 20, 1972 by the then President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Munir Ahmad Khan remained Chairman of PAEC for the next 19 years till 1991 when he retired with the status of Minister of State. After retirement, he was elected as Fellow of the American Nuclear Society, the International Nuclear Academy, the President of the Pakistan Nuclear Society and the Pakistan Institute of Electrical Engineers. He also served as Advisor to the Islamic Development Bank on Science and Technology.

Mr. Munir Ahmad Khan took over as Chairman of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission from Dr. I.H.Usmani on March 15, 1972. Within two months, he submitted a detailed nuclear plan to Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto which envisaged the establishment of numerous plants and facilities needed to master the complete nuclear fuel cycle. In November 1972, Prime Minister Bhutto inaugurated the 137 MW KANUPP power plant along with Mr. Munir Ahmad Khan and Dr. Abdus Salam. In December 1972, two Pakistani theoretical physicists working at the ICTP, were asked to report to Munir Ahmad Khan by Dr. Abdus Salam. They formed the Theoretical Physics Group (TPG) in PAEC, which was mandated to develop the design of Pakistan's nuclear weapons.

In the following months and years, PAEC also entered into agreements with Francemarker, Belgiummarker, Canadamarker, and West Germanymarker for the supply of a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant, a heavy water plant and a nuclear fuel fabrication plant, which were to be under IAEA safeguards. But following India's 1974 nuclear tests, these agreements were abrogated by the supplier states due to Pakistan's refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Development of Nuclear Weapons

In March, 1974, Munir Ahmad Khan called a meeting to initiate work on the atomic bomb. This led to the formation of the Directorate of Technical Development (DTD) in PAEC with a mechanical engineer, Mr. Muhammad Hafeez Qureshi as its Director-General. The DTD along with the "Wah Group" in PAEC was tasked to develop Pakistan's nuclear weapons program. Meanwhile, the TPG in PAEC completed the design of Pakistan's nuclear weapons by 1977 and by 1982-83, work on the bomb was completed by PAEC. On March 11, 1983, PAEC under Munir Ahmad Khan carried out the first cold test of an atomic bomb. By 1990, DTD carried out 24 cold tests of different nuclear weapon designs. In 1977, PAEC also selected the Chaghi and Kharan test sites which were completed by 1980.

Following India's nuclear test in 1974, PAEC began work on the indigenous development of the nuclear fuel cycle, without IAEA safeguards. Therefore, on February 15, 1975, Munir Ahmad Khan obtained approval from Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhuttofor funding a $450 million nuclear weapons program.This proposal included the setting up of uranium exploration, mining and refining plant at Baghalchur; a uranium conversion (oxide, metal and uranium hexafluoride gas) or UF6 production complex at Dera Ghazi Khanmarker, which provides the crucial UF6 feedstock for uranium enrichment at Kahutamarker; and a uranium enrichment plant based on centrifuge technology at Kahutamarker.

These projects were launched by PAEC in 1975-76 and were completed by 1980-81. PAEC had also begun R&D work on uranium enrichment in 1974 and in 1976, Munir Ahmad Khan also initiated work on the nuclear fuel fabrication complex at Kundian. When Canada cut off supplies of nuclear fuel and spare parts in December 1976 , PAEC developed its own fuel within two years and began loading KANUPP with indigenous nuclear fuel by 1980. Munir Ahmad Khan also launched the uranium enrichment project under the code-name Project-706 which included the site selection of the Kahuta plant, completion of a pilot enrichment plant at Chakalamarker along with selection and preparation of the pilot centrifuge plant at Sihala, procurement of essential equipment and materials for the enrichment project and selection of trained manpower for the project. All this work was begun in late 1974 and completed by PAEC under the overall supervision of Munir Ahmad Khan by 1976.

By June 1976, PAEC scientists and engineers began rotating the first experimental centrifuges at the Chakala R&D centrifuge site. The enrichment project was renamed Engineering Research Laboratories or ERL when Dr. A Q Khan took over the project from Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood in July 1976 and was made autonomous in the following month. A Coordination Board was set up to manage and supervise the project. This Board was headed by Mr. Ghulam Ishaq Khan, and had AGN Kazi, Agha Shahi and Munir Ahmad Khan as its members. However, ERL continued to remain under the overall supervision of PAEC till 1977 after which it was separated and made independent, but throughout the subsequent years and the 1980s, Munir Ahmad Khan continued to serve as Member of the Coordination Board for the enrichment project as Chairman of PAEC.

From 1972 onwards, PAEC under Munir Ahmad Khan ran over 20 labs and projects on the nuclear program, in 15-20 Directorates, ranging from uranium exploration, mining, refining, conversion, enrichment, fuel fabrication, reprocessing to nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons development programs, in addition to zirconium, beryllium and tritium production plants. During his 19 years as Chairman of PAEC, Munir Ahmad Khan also established numerous nuclear medical and agricultural centers, a Computer Training Center, Karachimarker Nuclear Power Training Center (KNPTC) and other infrastructure projects.In 1990, Munir Ahmad Khan also laid the foundation of the National Development Complex (NDC) which played an important role in Pakistan's missile program and produced the solid-fueled Shaheen missile systems.

When France canceled the Chashma reprocessing plant contract with Pakistan in 1978, PAEC under Munir Ahmad Khan completed the New Labs pilot reprocessing plant by 1981-82. In 1985, Munir Ahmad Khan also initiated work on the 50 MW indigenous plutonium production, reactor and a heavy water plant at Khushabmarker.

Former Member (Technical), PAEC and Chairman, NESCOM, Dr. Samar Mubarakmand recalled Mr.Munir Ahmad Khan's contribution in heading up and building Pakistan's nuclear program as Chairman of PAEC. In two separate memorial references in 2003 and 2007 he stated:

As many as nineteen steps were involved in the making of a nuclear weapon ranging from exploration of uranium to the finished device and its trigger mechanism.The technological and manpower infrastructure for eighteen out of these nineteen steps were provided by the PAEC under the leadership of Munir Ahmad Khan who led it for nearly two decades from 1972 to 1991. Today all the major key scientific organizations linked to the country's security like the PAEC, the Kahuta Research Labs and the strategic production complex were run and operated by Pakistani professionals produced by the policies of the PAEC both under him and Dr. Usmani of producing indigenous trained manpower.

Pakistan's nuclear capability was confirmed the day in 1983 when the PAEC carried out cold nuclear tests under the guidance and stewardship of late Munir Ahmad Khan. The tests however, were not publicly announced because of the international environment of stiff sanctions against countries, which sought to acquire nuclear capability.

In 2007, Dr. Samar Mubarakmand said:

What Munir Ahmad Khan achieved technically for Pakistan and for PAEC, that canvas is a very wide canvas. For one man to have done so much for the country in such a short time, is a truly remarkable feat.He was responsible for setting up Pakistan’s nuclear fuel cycle program, which culminated in providing indigenously manufactured fuel for the Karachi nuclear power plant. There was a time when Canada stopped the supply of fuel and spare parts for Kanupp and it was said that the streets of Karachi would go dark, but the indigenous fuel produced as a result of his efforts enabled Kanupp to successfully run despite sanctions. In developing the nuclear fuel cycle program, Munir Ahmad Khan established various nuclear facilities throughout the country. The offshoot of this nuclear fuel cycle program half way down the line gave us the uranium gas for Kahuta which we enriched and which was used in our nuclear weapons program.

The Kahuta enrichment project itself was envisaged by PAEC, it was a project on which we did a lot of exploratory and research work for separating U-235 and U-238. Various techniques for enrichment including laser, centrifuge and diffusion were explored and groups formed by him to study these methods. Then finally a group was formed to study the gas-centrifuge method for uranium enrichment. This was a big project for which he laid solid foundations and for which credit must be attributed to Munir Ahmad Khan.

Then he established the entire infrastructure for the designing, manufacturing and testing of nuclear weapons for the air force, for the missiles, for tactical weapons. He also set up explosive plants, high-speed electronics facilities, precision and mechanical plants for the nuclear weapons program.The Chaghi tunnels were also selected, built and made ready during his time. The Chaghi test site was selected by him in 1975/76 and was ready by 1980. He was a great manager of men and he pushed the people to do all this work and he brought out the best in the scientists and engineers of PAEC.

Pakistan’s nuclear infrastructure was the result of his hard work and his vision. On the plutonium side, the New Labs reprocessing project was also completed under his leadership. He also began work on the Khushabmarker plutonium production reactor.All this work was envisaged and implemented by one man, Munir Ahmad Khan. This was a colossal work that was done by him from scratch. This is why today Pakistan is a nuclear state and we cannot be blackmailed or threatened by our enemies. He has a tremendous contribution in making Pakistan a nuclear power.

Saviour of Nuclear Program

On June 7, 1981, Isrealmarker completed a surprise attack on Iraqmarker's nuclear program under the mission code "Operation Opera". After the incident Pakistanmarker's high-alert its nuclear program as well as its Air Force to defend country's nuclear program. The year after, Pakistani ISI secretly learned that Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi has given green signal to launch a surprise attack on Pakistan's nuclear installation under the mission code" Attack on Kahuta". Pakistan high-alerted Pakistan Air Force as well as ground troops.

During the time, Munir Ahmad Khan was attending IAEAmarker general conference along with its Indian counterpart dr. Raja Ramana. The Government of Pakistan informed PAEC chairman about the possible surprise attack on Pakistan's nuclear program. Munir Ahmad Khan met with dr. Raja Ramana at the Imperial Hotel at Viennamarker where his Indian counterpart did confirmed about the possible surgical attack on Pakistani nuclear facilities. Munir Ahmad Khan told his counterpart that Indian attack on Pakistani nuclear facilities would trigger a possible Pakistan retaliatory strike on Indian nuclear facilities at Trombay, which will result in the release radioactivity causing a major disaster.

After the intense conversation between both Chairmen, Dr. Raja Ramana gave Munir Ahmad Khan his assurance that he will talk to the Prime Minister about the nuclear issue once he gets to India. Afew days later, Raja Ramana held a meeting with the Indian Prime Minister and informed Pakistan's possible-nuclear attack on India if the surgical strike such takes place. Indira Gandhi immediately postponed the surprise attack,and subsequently the matter was shelved. Subsequently, Indian and Pakistani officials met and discussed the nuclear issues. Both countries agreed that both countries will not to attack each other's nuclear installations in future.

Heading Pakistan's Civilian Nuclear Program

Munir Khan also upgraded the Pakistan Research Reactor-1 (PARR-1) from 5MW to 10 MW and set up the 27 Kw PARR-2 research reactor at PINSTECH. In 1986, PAEC signed a civilian nuclear Technology and cooperation agreement with Chinamarker. A grand ceremony was held in Beijing where Pakistan's then Foreign Minister Sahibzada Yaqub Khan signed on behalf of Pakistan in the presence of Munir Ahmad Khan and Chinese Prime Minister. Following this accord, PAEC reached an agreement with China in November 1989 for the supply of a 300MW CHASHNUPP-1 nuclear power plant. In February, 1990, President Mitterrand of France visited Pakistan and announced that France had agreed to supply a 900 MWe nuclear power reactor to Pakistan. However, after the government of Benazir Bhutto was dismissed in August, 1990, the French nuclear power plant went into cold storage and the agreement could not be implemented due to financial constraints and the Pakistani government's apathy.

Shortly afterwards, Munir Ahmad Khan stated that the signing of civil nuclear cooperation agreements with China and France had broken a fifteen year virtual embargo by western states on the supply of nuclear power plants to Pakistan.

To provide the trained manpower for the nuclear program, Munir Ahmad Khan upgraded the Reactor School and in 1976 established the Centre for Nuclear Studies, which is today known as Pakistan Institute of Engineering & Applied Sciences PIEAS. The "Munir Ahmad Khan Gold Medal" is awarded to outstanding students in M.Sc, Systems Engineering at PIEAS.

A leader and mentor

Several prominent Pakistani nuclear scientists and engineers served in various projects under Munir Ahmad Khan. This include a prominent nuclear physicist Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad, who succeeded Munir as Chairman PAEC in 1991; Dr. Samar Mubarakmand who later became Member (Technical), PAEC and subsequently Chairman NESCOM; Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood, Mr. Parvez Butt (Chairman PAEC 2001-2006) and Mr. Anwar Ali (Chairman PAEC 2006-2009) . His colleagues in PAEC consider him as their mentor and believe that Pakistan became a nuclear power due to the leadership and efforts of Munir Ahmad Khan during his 19 years as Chairman of PAEC.

Following his retirement in 1991, Munir Ahmad Khan remained actively involved at the international level with issues relating to nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear disarmament, nuclear power and utilization of nuclear science and technology for economic development. He refrained from advertising the achievements made by PAEC and was known for his immensely secretive nature. He was also known as an advocate of nuclear restraint and responsibility, for which he was criticised by his detractors and critics in Pakistan and portrayed as being against the bomb.


Like Dr. Samar Mubarakmand, who worked under him in PAEC, Mr. Munir Ahmad Khan always kept a much lower profile than Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan. Both developed an intense institutional rivalry. While Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan was head of only one project at Kahutamarker, Mr. Munir Ahmad Khan headed the entire nuclear program, except the Kahuta centrifuge project. From 1972 onwards, Mr. Munir Ahmad Khan headed over 20 labs and projects, including the front and back ends of the nuclear fuel cycle; civil, research, power and plutonium production reactors, including KANUPP, Khushabmarker and PARR-1 & 2; nuclear weapons design, development and testing programs; PINSTECH; nuclear medicine and bio-technology centres; and nuclear training centres along with other infrastructure and R&D projects.

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto while condoling the death of Munir Ahmad Khan in 1999 said:

"Pakistan's nuclear programme will always stand out as a symbol of lasting tribute to the memory of Munir Ahmad Khan who was head of PAEC for nearly two decades during which he helped build the vast nuclear infrastructure and trained thousands of scientists and engineers which eventually brought Pakistan on the nuclear map of the world. Munir Ahmad Khan was chosen for the job by Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1972 for his competence, dedication and commitment. He acquitted himself honourably with the trust reposed in him and in meeting the challenge".

When PAEC carried out six nuclear tests at Chaghi and Kharan in May 1998, the Directorate of Technical Development (DTD) of PAEC issued a statement which said:

"During the critical years of nuclear device development, the leadership contribution changed hands from Mr. Munir Ahmad Khan to Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad and finally to Dr. Samar Mubarakmand (Member Technical)".

Due to his efforts and works, he was called "The Nuclear Father" by his comrades and companions. A 2006 Dossier on Pakistan's Nuclear Program by the International Institute of Strategic Studies, IISS, London, termed Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto as the "political father" and Mr. Munir Ahmad Khan as the "technical father" of Pakistan's atomic bomb. Munir Ahmad Khan was also a close friend of Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

In spite of developing and heading nuclear program for 19 years, both on the civil and weapons side, he kept a very low profile and continued to profess the peaceful nature of Pakistan's nuclear program, due to which he was denied the credit which was his due. That is why, he is known as the "Unsung Hero" of Nuclear Pakistanmarker. Munir Ahmad Khan was awarded the high civilian award of "Hilal-e-Imtiaz" by former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 1989. Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, who was only responsible for the centrifuge project at Kahutamarker was twice awarded the Nishan-e-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan, while Munir Ahmad Khan who developed and led the entire nuclear program from 1972-1991, comprising several projects and labs, and during whose tenure as Chairman of PAEC, Pakistanmarker acquired nuclear weapons capability, has not been awarded the Nishan-e-Imtiaz in recognition of his services by the state. His colleagues and subordinates who worked with and for him in PAEC, including Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad and Dr. Samar Mubarakmand, however, were awarded the Nishan-e-Imtiaz after the 1998 tests, so was Dr. I.H.Usmani . Nevertheless, in spite of his colleagues' repeated recommendations, Munir Ahmad Khan's services for Pakistanmarker remain largely unknown and unacknowledged, both at the public and state level.

Quotes by Munir Ahmad Khan

  • "We were not just making the bomb, but building science and technology."

  • "We have to understand that nuclear weapons are not a play thing to be bandied publicly. They have to be treated with respect and responsibility. While they can destroy the enemy, they can also invite self destruction."

  • "While we were building capabilities in the nuclear fuel cycle, we started in parallel the design of a nuclear device, with its trigger mechanism, physics calculations, production of metal, making precision mechanical components, high-speed electronics, diagnostics, and testing facilities. For each one of them, we established different laboratories".

  • "Many sources were tapped after the decision to go nuclear. We were simultaneously working on 20 labs and projects under the administrative control of PAEC, every one the size of Khan Research Laboratories."

  • "On March 11, 1983, we successfully conducted the first cold test of a working nuclear device. That evening, I went to General Zia with the news that Pakistan was now ready to make a nuclear device."

Awards and Fellowships


See also



  2. "Munir Will Remain Immortal in country's nuclear history," The Nation (Islamabad) June 2, 1999.
  3. Dr.M.S. Jillani, "Man of Honor," The News (Islamabad), June 3, 1999.
  4. "Munir Khan Passes Away," Business Recorder, April 23, 1999.
  5. Ibid.
  6. 20 Years VIC (1979-1999), ECHO, Journal of the IAEA Staff- No. 202, pp. 24–25
  7. accessed September 1, 2009.
  8. accessed September 1, 2009.
  9. accessed September 1, 2009.
  10. Munir A. Khan and P. Augustine, "Small Power Reactor Projects of USAEC", TID-8538 (Reactor Technology), GC(V)/INF/41, September, 1961, IAEA.
  11. accessed on August 6, 2009.
  12. accessed September 1, 2009.
  13. accessed September 1, 2009.
  14. Munir Ahmad Khan, "Salam Passes into History", The News (Islamabad), November 24, 1996.
  15. accessed on August 6, 2009.
  16. accessed September 1, 2009.
  17. "Shahid-ur-Rahman Khan, Long Road to Chaghi(Islamabad: Print Wise Publications, 1999),pp. 38–39.
  18. accessed on August 6, 2009.
  19. Farhatullah Babar, “Bhutto’s footprints on nuclear Pakistan”, The News, (Islamabad) April 4, 2006.
  20. S.K. Pasha, "Solar Energy and the Guests at KANUPP Opening", Morning News (Karachi), November 29, 1972.
  21. Ibid.
  22. She was the eldest child of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
  23. accessed on August 6, 2009.
  24. Rai Muhammad Saleh Azam, "When Mountains Move - The Story of Chagai," Defence Journal,(Karachi) June 2000.
  25. "Pakistan Became a Nuclear State in 1983-Dr. Samar", The Nation,(Islamabad) May 2, 2003 accessed on August 6, 2009.
  26. accessed September 1, 2009.
  27. "Shahid-ur-Rahman Khan,Long Road to Chaghi(Islamabad: Print Wise Publications, 1999),p. 50.
  28. Ibid.
  29. Ibid.
  30. accessed on August 6, 2009.
  31. Ibid.
  32. Ibid.
  33. Ibid.
  34. Ibid.
  35. --"Pakistan, China Sign Cooperation Agreement," The Pakistan Times, 21 September 1986, Pg. 1
  36. "Pakistani Official On Reactor," XINHUA (Beijing), 20 November 1989; Nuclear Developments, 26 December 1989, Pg. 1.
  37. "Pakistan: Details On Bhutto-Mitterrand News Conference," Islamabad Domestic Service, 21 February 1990.
  38. "Munir Assures Safety In Nuclear Radiation Utilization," Dawn (Karachi), 25 March 1990, Pg. 12; Nuclear Developments, 15 May 1990.
  39. Farhatullah Babar, "The Nuclear Sage of Pakistan", The News, (Islamabad) April 22, 2005.
  40. Retrieved on 09-04-2009.
  41. "Benazir Bhutto condoles Munir's demise", Business Recorder (Karachi) April 4, 1999.
  42. "Thursday's N-tests measured 5.0 on Richter scale", The News (Islamabad), May 31, 1998
  • Retrieved on 14-03-2009
  • Retrieved on 14-03-2009
  • Retrieved on 14-03-2009
  • Retrieved on 14-03-2009
  • Retrieved on 14-03-2009
  • Retrieved on 14-03-2009
  • Retrieved on 14-03-2009
  • Retrieved on 14-03-2009
  • Retrieved on 14-03-2009
  • Retrieved on 14-03-2009
  • Retrieved on 14-03-2009
  • Retrieved on 14-03-2009
  • Retrieved on 14-03-2009
  • Retrieved on 14-03-2009
  • Retrieved on 14-03-2009
  • Retrieved on 14.03.2009
  • on 14-03-2009
  • Retrieved on 14-03-2009
  • on 14-03-2009
  • Retrieved on 14-03-2009
  • Retrieved on 09-04-2009

  • 20 Years VIC (1979-1999), ECHO, Journal of the IAEA Staff- No. 202, pp. 24–25

  • Munir A. Khan and P. Augustine, "Small Power Reactor Projects of USAEC", TID-8538 (Reactor Technology), GC(V)/INF/41, September, 1961, IAEA.

  • Munir Ahmad Khan, “ Nuclearization of South Asia and its Regional and Global Implications” Regional Studies, (Islamabad) 26:4 (Autumn 1998).

  • Farhatullah Babar, “Bhutto’s footprints on nuclear Pakistan”, The News, (Islamabad) April 4, 2006.

  • Farhatullah Babar, "Advocate of Nuclear Responsibility", The News, (Islamabad) April 30, 2006.

  • Farhatullah Babar, "The Nuclear Sage of Pakistan", The News, (Islamabad) April 22, 2005.

  • "Pakistan Became a Nuclear State in 1983-Dr. Samar", The Nation,(Islamabad) May 2, 2003.

  • Rai Muhammad Saleh Azam, "When Mountains Move - The Story of Chagai", Defence Journal,(Karachi) June 2000.

  • Munir Ahmad Khan, "How Pakistan Made Nuclear Fuel", The Nation, (Islamabad) February 7 and 9, 1998.

  • MA Chaudhri, "Pakistan's Nuclear History: Separating Myth from Reality", Defence Journal, (Karachi) May, 2006.

  • Usman Shabbir, "Remembering Unsung Heroes: Munir Ahmad Khan", Defence Journal, (Karachi) May, 2004.

  • "Benazir Bhutto condoles Munir's demise", Business Recorder (Karachi) April 4, 1999.

  • "Thursday's N-tests measured 5.0 on Richter scale", The News (Islamabad), May 31, 1998.

  • "Obituary: Munir Khan Dies; Developed Pakistan Bomb Project", International Herald Tribune, April 24, 1999.

  • Farhatullah Babar, "Remembering an Unsung Hero", The News (Islamabad), April 21, 2001.

  • "Munir Will Remain Immortal in Country's Nuclear History-Dr. Ishfaq", The Nation (Islamabad) June 2, 1999.

  • "Shahid-ur-Rahman Khan,Long Road to Chaghi(Islamabad: Print Wise Publications, 1999),pp. 27–29.

  • Munir Ahmad Khan, "Salam Passes into History", The News (Islamabad), November 24, 1996.

  • S.K. Pasha, "Solar Energy and the Guests at KANUPP Opening", Morning News (Karachi), November 29, 1972.

External links


Embed code:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address