Ghulam Ishaq Khan - Biography - Role in The Atomic Bomb Project

Role in The Atomic Bomb Project

Ghulam Ishaq Khan was one of the vital administrator of Pakistan's integrated atomic bomb project, and was one directly associated statesman of the program. In 1976, he became relationship with Pakistan's integrated atomic bomb project and had been in the meeting with Bhutto in approving the national nuclear policy. On August 1976, he first met with nuclear scientist dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan and helped him establishing the Engineering Research Laboratories (ERL). Later that day, he established the committee, responsible for evaluation the site in which where the ERL was positioned. This top policy committee had AGN Kazi Agha Shahi, chaired by Ghulam Ishaq. During the time of ERL established, Ghulam Ishaq consolidated the military control of the project under general Zahid Ali Akbar and the Corps of Engineers. By the end of 1976, Ishaq Khan was appointed as the defence administrator of the Uranium Coordination Board (UCB) that overlooks the scientific aspects of the uranium enrichment, as part of this, Brigadier-General Zahid Ali Akbar submitted a survey and map of Kahuta and the Engineering Research Laboratories (ERL) to Ghulam Ishaq's secretariat. Ghulam Ishaq played a major role in the military career of general Zahid Ali Akbar and supported Akbar's three-star rank and appointment, Engineer-in-Chief. He maintained extremely closed relationship with Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan and Munir Ahmad Khan, and remained Qadeer Khan's staunch loyal.

Ghulam Ishaq Khan, as President of Pakistan, established Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology (GIKI) that offers world-class programmes in engineering science and technology in the country. In 1990, he invited Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan to become institute's executive member, and with his support, Abdul Qadeer Khan became the Chairman of Department of Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering. Khan also inivited Asghar Qadir, a PAEC mathematician, to become a head of Department of Mathematics. However, Khan did not become the head of the nuclear weapons programme until Munir Ahmad Khan retired. After Munir Ahmad Khan took retirement from Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), President Ghulam Ishaq Khan eventually become the administrative head of Nuclear weapons programme.

In 1980s, Ghulam Ishaq had an extremely important and influential role in scientific and political aspects of the atomic bomb programs, that at one occasion one U.S. diplomat dubbed him as "Mr. Nuke"; domestically, he earn the title as "Atomic Baba" or "Baba Atom". Earlier being as finance minister, he had the nuclear deterrence as his top priority and channeled financial funds for the development of the atomic bomb projects. In 1983, as Chairman of Senate, he was one of the invited high civil officials, who reportedly, were supposed to be present at the Cold test, along with Lieutenant-General Zahid Ali Akbar — E-in-C of Corps of Engineers— General Khalid Mehmud Arif — Vice Chief of Army Staff — Air Vice-Marshal Michael John O'Brian— AOC of Sargodha Air Force Base— and Chairman of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission Munir Ahmad Khan.

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