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Lieutenant General Zahid Ali Akbar Khan is a now-retired Pakistan Army engineer officer, best known for his role in Pakistan's acquisition of weapons of mass destruction. He was delegated by then-Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to the fledgling uranium enrichment program alongside Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan in 1976, spearheading the construction of Kahuta Research Laboratories (then known as the Engineering Research Laboratories). Under General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, he was made the principal military head of Project-706, Pakistan's integral atomic bomb project. Having fought in both the Indo-Pakistani wars of 1965 and 1971, Akbar also commanded the Rawalpindimarker-based X Corps during the start of the Siachen conflict in 1984.

After retirement in 1990, Zahid Akbar was appointed Chairman of the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) by then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Under Akbar, WAPDA surpassed its goals of electricity generation. He was then appointed Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, then-known as the BCCP, and oversaw Pakistan's victory of the 1992 Cricket World Cup. Following various former government officials being accused of nuclear proliferation in 2003 by the Pervez Musharraf government, Akbar was accused of various misdemeanors in 2004.

Biography

Early life

Zahid Akbar was born in Jalandharmarker, then in British Raj, the eldest child of a prominent Muslim lawyer. At the start of the Second World War, his father volunteered for service with the British Indian Army, and was killed in action during the Battle of Singaporemarker.

Education and Military Career

He was accepted as an Officer-cadet at the Pakistan Military Academy at Kakulmarker in 1950 and was commissioned into the Pakistan Army Corps of Engineers two years later. He received his B.Eng. in system engineering from military academy. He would serve in the army in both the 1965 and 1971 wars.

Project 706

In January 1972, Akbar, who was a Brigadier at the time, was selected by Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to administer and co-direct the Project-706, reporting directly to Prime Minister's office. Akbar, who is also a military engineer, collaborated closely with Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan to set up and build the Kahutamarker Facility. He, along with Dr. A Q Khan, had completed a nuclear geological survey of Kahuta facility and was submitted to the Prime Minister's office. According to Khan's column, Akbar designed and constructed the Kahuta Project and its related facilities. Brigadier Akbar also provide his personal services and his Corps of Engineers crucial support to PAEC Chairman Munir Ahmad Khan to construct the nuclear tests site and areas in throughout the country, notably, Chagai and Kirana Hillsmarker.

Zahid Akbar was then promoted to Major General and shifted as the Adjutant General (AG) at the GHQ. By the 1983, Akbar was promoted to Lieutenant General and was made commander of Pakistan Army Corps of Engineers to deal with senior people whose cooperation was required. After the end of Prime Minister Bhutto's regime, Akbar was given an autonomous control of Project-706. Under Akbar's direction, PAEC and KRL spurred their work on nuclear devices quickly.

By the time, Akbar was promoted to Lieutenant General, Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad conducted a cold test of a theoretically designed nuclear device, His Majesty Explosives (HMX), near in Kirana Hills. After the successful fission test, Government of Pakistan transferred the control over nuclear power from military to civilian hands. The PAEC under Munir Ahmad Khan was given a full charge of developing the nuclear weapons and civilian nuclear program.

Rawalpindi Corps Commander

Zahid Akbar was promoted to the rank Lieutenant General in March 1983 and was given command of the Pakistan Army Corps of Engineers to deal with people who cooperation was needed in nuclear technology. By the time, he was made the principal commander of Corps of Engineers, Pakistan had tested its first cold test of its fission device. Later, the nuclear power program was transferred into civilian hands. Due to his services, General Zia made Akbar the X Corps's Corps Commander. He would lead the corps in the Siachen conflict, when the Indian Army launched Operation Meghdoot in 1984.

Post-retirement

Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board

Zahid Akbar retired from the Pakistan Army in 1987 and became Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (then known as the Board of Control for Cricket in Pakistan or BCCP) in 1988. It was during his tenure that Pakistan won the 1992 Cricket World Cup.

Heading WAPDA

He then became the chairman of Water and Power Development Authority or WAPDA in 1990. The same year he suggested that Pakistan's nuclear power plants be placed under the direction of his utility, in order to end international concerns that the plants are involved in weapons production. The Government's response to this suggestion was positive. However, then-Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif turned down his offer down.

Corruption Cases and NAB

On 1 August 2006, Pakistan anti-corruption agency National Accountability Bureau (NAB) filed a corruption reference against Lt-Gen (retd) Zahid Ali Akbar Khan, in the Accountability Court Lahore. According to the NAB Official, Zahid Akbar, during his tenure as chairman WAPDA and chairman PCB, committed acts amounting to corruption and corrupt practices.

The anti-corruption court headed by judge Shafqaat Ali Sajid, the court sent the warrants for the arrest to the DSP (legal) to produce the accused in court in the proceedings of reference which charges the former general, who had also been the head of WAPDA and the Pakistan Cricket Board from 1987 to 1992, with misappropriating Rs176 million during the period he was heading the power authority.

References

  1. A Q Khan. "Bhutto, GIK and Kahuta" The News, 29 July, 2009
  2. "Pakistan: Nuclear Chronology" Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), accessed 30 November, 2009
  3. Shakeel Anjum. "NAB files case against former general" The News, 1 August, 2006
  4. "Warrants for arrest of Zahid Akbar" Dawn, 6 August, 2006






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