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How A.Q. Khan brought the atomic bomb to Pakistan and beyond

 The south Asian nuclear race had begun on May 18, 1974, when India tested
its first nuclear weapon, codenamed Smiling Buddha. India called the test a
“peaceful nuclear explosion”, but Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the prime
minister of Pakistan, responded by saying that his government would now
develop nuclear arms.

There was, Bhutto said, “a Christian bomb, a Jewish
bomb and now a Hindu bomb. Why not an Islamic bomb?” By then Khan, who
had completed a PhD in metallurgic engineering in Europe, was working in
Amsterdam for a subcontractor of Urenco, the nuclear fuel company. Urenco
had been established in 1970 by Britain, West Germany and the Netherlands
to supply the enriched uranium nuclear fuel used in European nuclear

At about the time that India detonated its first nuclear device,
Khan had access to the most secret areas of the Urenco facility and to
documentation about its gas centrifuge technology, including the
consortium’s secret uranium enrichment plant at Almelo, near the
Dutch-German border. Whether he approached the Pakistani government about
nuclear espionage or whether it approached him remains unclear. Whichever
way, in January 1976 he left the Netherlands suddenly for “an offer I
can’t refuse in Pakistan”, emerging there as the leader of his
country’s nuclear-weapons programme.

 Times 11th Oct 2021

October 12, 2021 - Posted by | Pakistan, PERSONAL STORIES

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