Dr. Munir Ahmed Khan [1926-1999]

On January 20, 1972, late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto called on a number of leading scientists at Multan and expressed his desire to go for a Nuclear Bomb. How much time would you take for it asked the Premier. A few comments came up which did not satisfy the Premier. “I shall need three years and give you the bomb said one of the scientists. This challenge changed the mood and the Premier got excited and said abruptly. “Is it possible”? Yes of course, was the sharp answer with confidence from the one who had accepted to take up the challenge. “We will eat grass but we must have a bomb” said the premier. We have wasted a lot of time. We could go for it in 1965. Still much is not lost, we should put our heads down and work ceaselessly for it” said the Premier.

Next day, Bhutto entrusted this Himalayan task to Dr. Munir Ahmed Khan appointing him Chairman of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. This was in 1972. Dr. Munir continued as Chairman till 1990 when he retired having built the Commission a strong organization that ultimately showed its worth in May 1998.

Dr. Munir Ahmed Khan was born in 1926 at Qasur in a modest educated family. After initial education at his native place he moved to Lahore where he matriculated in 1942 in Central Model High School. In 1944, he did his FSc and BSc in 1946 from Government College, Lahore.

He became Electrical Engineer in 1949 qualifying from the Engineering College, Lahore. For some time, he taught at the Engineering College and proceeded to America on a Fulbright Scholarship and joined North Carolina University from where he did MSc in 1951. He specialized in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Science and Technology, Chicago.

Having visited Austria in 1957 and working for some time, at International Atomic Agency, Vienna, he returned home in 1971 and joined AAEC as a scientist and elevated himself as its Chairman the following year.

During his stay as the Chairman for about eighteen years, though according to his challenge he could not produce the bomb, but he can be credited for having laid the first brick to this end by strengthening the Atomic Energy Commission which ultimately achieved its target. “He helped Pakistan acquire industry for complete nuclear fuel cycle involving uranium exploration, mining, making of uranium metal and culminating in fuel bundles for nuclear power reactors.”

It also goes to his credit that he raised a capable team of scientists like Dr. Ashfaq, Bashirudin Mahmood, Dr. N.A. Butt and others. He contributed in the development of Science and Technology by way of associating himself in the establishment of various research and teaching organizations including PINSTECH and Centre for Nuclear Studies. Imitation of Nuclear Re-actor at Jauharabad and foundation of National Development Complex are additional feathers in his cap. The cold test of Atomic Programme in March 1983 was made under his supervision. Although he retired from the PAEC in 1991, yet he remained associated with the Nuclear issues throughout: “He spent nearly forty years in the atomic energy, half in training in the US nuclear establishments and in working in the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna and other half in applying that expertise and knowledge in the development of Pakistan Nuclear programme.”

He has published many research articles in different international journals. He was given awards of distinction by the Government of Pakistan. This scientist who first of all spoke to produce Atomic bomb expired on April 21st, 1999.

“Dr. Munir’s achievements must be seen in the background of anti nuclear international environment of past two decades when the United States, Canada and European country passed domestic legislation to not only place restrictions of transfer of technology but even to negotiate settled contracts.”


Prominent Scientists of Pakistan (Urdu)
Khalid Mahmood Asim


The Nuclear Father

The fifth death anniversary of Mr. Munir Ahmad Khan, Chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (1972-1991), who developed and led Pakistan’s nuclear programme for two decades and who achieved international recognition as a nuclear expert and advocate for the Third World is marked on April 22..

He spent his last days of illness in Vienna, Austria, where he enjoyed a distinguished tenure with the International Atomic Energy Agency (1957-1972). He was one of the first Asian scientists to join the IAEA, and rose to become director of the Reactor Engineering Division and Member of the Board of Governors, and was elected Board Chairman in 1986-87.

It was while he was still with the IAEA that Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto requested him to return to Pakistan as PAEC Chairman at the famous Multan Conference of senior scientists, where the foundations of the nuclear weapons programme were laid. It was a historic move as Pakistan thereafter embarked on a crash program to develop the atomic bomb, and he as the architect of the nuclear programme would make this dream come true by 1983 when PAEC conducted its first successful cold tests.

Under Munir’s dedicated leadership, Pakistan’s nuclear programme developed into a multi-faceted and dynamic center of science and technology, both on the peaceful and deterrence sides. He established the blueprint and developed the know how for Pakistan’s weapons capability. This includes the fuel and heavy water fabrication facilities, uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing facilities, nuclear fuel cycle facilities, training centres and nuclear power reactors.

In addition, the PAEC made formidable strides by developing new strains of rice and cotton that added billions to Pakistan’s agricultural output. Nuclear medical centres across the country have treated hundreds of thousands of cancer patients. Recently a long-standing dream of his was achieved with the elevation of the Centre for Nuclear Studies into an internationally recognised university. He established CNS as a centre of excellence, to provide the critical element of any nuclear programme, the trained manpower, which has so far produced over 2000 world-class nuclear scientists and engineers, at a time when the Western universities refused to allow Pakistanis into the nuclear field.

He initiated the Kahuta Enrichment Project, as Project-706, under Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmud, in 1974, two years prior to A.Q. Khan’s arrival in Pakistan. He completed the feasibility study, site selection for the plant, construction of its civil works, recruitment of the staff, and procurement of the necessary materials by 1976.

The PAEC under Munir remained in charge of the overall bomb programme, of all the 23 out of 24 difficult steps before and after uranium enrichment, and he continued to provide technical support to the enrichment program all along. The PAEC under him went on to develop the first generation of nuclear weapons in the 1980s. Munir started work on the bomb itself in a meeting called in March 1974, in which the secret ‘Wah Group’ was assigned the task of initiating work on it, prior to the arrival of A. Q. Khan in Pakistan.

The Chaghi tunnels were constructed under him and were ready by 1980. Munir successfully conducted the first ‘cold’ tests in March 1983, and the 1998 ‘hot’ tests were their confirmation. He made Pakistan acquire complete mastery over the nuclear fuel cycle, which is critical to the development and success of any nuclear programme.

The fuel cycle ranges from mining (uranium ore mining from mines), milling (uranium ore into yellow cake), conversion (yellow cake into hexafluoride gas, the crucial ingredient for uranium enrichment through the ‘gas’ centrifuge method used in KRL). Fuel fabrication (converting enriched uranium into uranium dioxide, sealing it into metal fuel rods and bundling into fuel assembly as fuel for nuclear power plants) was accomplished by PAEC under Munir.

Uranium enrichment would have been impossible without the hexafluoride gas, and mastery of the nuclear fuel cycle, which was accomplished by Munir. The highly enriched uranium is then converted into metal at PAEC and then into bomb cores, which itself involves very critical technologies, which were as great a challenge as uranium enrichment or plutonium reprocessing. Munir had laid solid groundwork for all these technologies, which enabled Pakistan to acquire nuclear capability by the early 1980s.

When in 1976 Canada suspended the supply of heavy water fuel and spare parts for the Karachi nuclear power plant, he took up the challenge and using indigenous resources produced the Feed for KANUPP, which is why the Muslim world’s first nuclear power plant is still running successfully.

He also upgraded the research reactor at PINSTECH and laid the groundwork in the 1980s for the 300 MW nuclear power plant at Chashma. Munir also laid the foundations of the National Development Complex, under Dr Samar Mubarikmand. Today NDC is a vital strategic organisation.

PAEC under Munir was also actively developing the plutonium programme, in spite of the cancellation of the French reprocessing contract, and went ahead with developing an indigenous pilot reprocessing plant, which was completed by 1981, known as the ‘New Labs’ in PINSTECH. The PAEC did not forego the plutonium route, and was successful at developing the indigenous plutonium production reactor at Khushab, commissioned recently. This was driven during Munir Khan’s 19-year tenure. Plutonium is used to develop advanced compact warheads, and makes more powerful bombs than uranium.

Munir was very modest, and shied away from the counter-productive boasting of his rivals. He saw Pakistan’s strength as lying in more than having a bomb, as equally dependent on a secure economic and political future and non-isolation in the world.

As he developed the PAEC programme, so too did he grow in international stature as one of the leading nuclear policymakers to represent Third World interests at international forum. A few years prior to his death, he was made Advisor on Science and Technology at the Islamic Development Bank to assist in developing their investment in the sciences in Muslim countries.

Munir Khan did his BSc from Government College Lahore as a contemporary of the late Nobel Laureate Dr Abdus Salam. He later went to the USA on a Fulbright Grant and Rotary International Fellowship where he earned a Master’s in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University and an MSc in nuclear engineering from Argonne National Laboratories in Illinois as part of the Atoms for Peace Programme.

Munir’s vision for Pakistan, and indeed the whole Muslim community, as a centre for science and technology, was an inspiration to scientists and colleagues around the world. The strict controls in PAEC from the time of Munir becoming Chairman in 1972 ensured that no financial bunglings or material ‘leaks’ would take place.

He was an example of how a scientist in a very senior and responsible position could behave with the utmost responsibility and secrecy in matters of supreme national interest. He was a man who was obsessed with secrecy, and believed that national security must be above personal whims and wishes, and abhorred personal aggrandisement. He spoke rarely to the press, and only in public, never in private, and he refrained from all self-projection and never indulged in cheap popularity stunts.

He never let any journalist in his office or residence, nor did he crave their attention. For all his sense of responsibility throughout his Chairmanship, he had to pay a personal price by remaining unsung. Some believed that keeping silent was a mistake, and that the people would never know of the accomplishments of the PAEC and his own contribution. He was deeply humble, impeccably honest and humane, an avid conversationalist who in the traditions of most nuclear scientists, was a connoisseur of arts, especially literature and Urdu poetry, particularly Ghalib, Iqbal and Faiz. And like most nuclear scientists engaged in changing the destiny of nations, he used to have long walks. He was a consummate conversationalist and burst into laughter without prodding. It was amazing how he had compartmentalised his mind. Manager of a colossal and highly sensitive nuclear programme, he talked of other things in the world without even giving a hint about his identity. His confidence and patriotism did not allow him to divulge his secrets to any man who did not belong to his trade.

With superabundant energy, iron will, and an intense patriotic zeal, he became a lodestar in the history of the nation. He was known as the ‘Father’ in PAEC circles, yet he remains an unsung hero whose contributions are largely unknown, and unacknowledged. His predecessor, Dr. I. H. Usmani, got the Nishan-i-Imtiaz posthumously after the 1998 nuclear tests, as did his successor, Dr Ishfaq Ahmed, yet he continues to be left out.

His detractors have been exposed in the recent proliferation scandal, and he stands vindicated. He remained associated till his last day in Pakistan with nuclear issues and continued to serve the country by sharing his rich 42-year experience in the nuclear field with PAEC even after retiring as Chairman in 1991. His greatest legacy is that he made Pakistan a nuclear power by making the nuclear programme independent of his self. Yet even five years after his death, he remains an unsung hero who along with his team of dedicated scientists and engineers enabled us to safeguard our honour as a nation. Justice requires that the falsification of history be rectified. The nation for which he lived his life, deserves to know the truth.


The Nation, April 22, 2004 (By M.A. SHEIKH)

Dr. N.M. Butt

Dr. N.M. Butt is from amongst the very few in Pakistan who attained DSc the highest degree of Science. He also has the distinction of being the first Pakistani to obtain this degree.

Dr. Butt was born at Lahore in 1938. He did MSC in Physics with distinction from Government College, Lahore. He got associated with Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH) and in due course of time proceeded to England for higher studies. He joined Department of Nuclear Physics, Birmingham University, where he earned the degree of D.Sc. Thereafter, Dr. Butt re-joined PINSTECH and worked on important posts such as Chief Scientist and retired as Director General in 1998. He was made Scientist of Emeritus in this Institute to which he is still attached.

He is fellow of Royal Society of Physics, London and Fellow of Islamic Academy of Sciences. Dr. Butt has published far numbering research articles in national and international research journals and has trained a fairly large number of young scientists. He was conferred with Sitara-i-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan.


Prominent Scientists of Pakistan (Urdu)
Khalid Mahmood Asim

Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan

Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, Pakistan’s nuclear hero is a scion of Bhopal state’s modest and a religious family. He was born in April 1936. His father Abdul Ghafoor Khan was an academician who retired from Education Department in 1935 and settled permanently in Bhopal. In 1952, Qadeer did his Matriculation and same year in the month of August, he migrated to Pakistan. At Karachi, he did his FSC from D.J. Science College and graduated from Karachi University. He proceeded to Germany in 1961 on a scholarship for higher studies in Metallurgy. In 1963-4, he moved to Holland and did his MSC with distinction in Physical Metallurgy from Technological University Defolt. In 1968, did his Doctorate in the same subject from Catholic University of Leon. In 1972, started his career as a Metallurgist at Physical Dynamic Research Laboratory (F.D.O) at Amsterdam. This gave him an opportunity to move onwards from an ‘unknown to a known’ that later made it possible for him to go for a big hunt in Nuclear Science. Before returning home in 1976, he had worked at the British, German and Dutch Urenco uranium enrichment facility in the Netherlands in the early seventies.

During Premier Bhutto’s regime he was entrusted with the job to organize Pakistan's nuclear programme that could give an answer to India in a befitting manner. He thus sowed real seeds of Pakistan’s nuclear programme on July 31 1976, when 'Engineering Research Laboratories', an autonomous organization was formed headed by Dr. Qadeer Khan who later emerged as an architect of Pakistan’s Nuclear prowess and also called as the father of Pakistan medium-range Ghauri and other Missiles.

Needless to say that credit goes to the great Khan that "in a record short span of six years, Pakistan was put on the nuclear map of the world and a solid foundation was laid for our self-sufficiency in future of the peaceful uses of nuclear energy."

‘He became the focus of attention after India exploded three nuclear devices on May 11 and two more on May 13, 1992 to which Pakistan gave an appropriate answer by exploding five Pakistani nuclear blasts on May 28, 1998 and at least one on the following day - a move that spurred jubilation at home and condemnation abroad, coupled with sanctions.’

It may be noted that Dr. Qadeer Khan was levelled with fake charges of nuclear espionage by the West so much so that a court in Amsterdam sentenced him in absentia in 1983 for four years in jail. Dr. Qadeer refutes much biased allegations of engaging forcefully himself in any sort of nuclear espionage. The court, however, later on, withdrew it’s baseless allegation when the Khan fought his case with vigour and determination.

The great Khan, the great hero, the great architect of Pakistan’s Nuclear technology deserves special gratitude of the people of Pakistan. We salute him.


Prominent Scientists of Pakistan (Urdu)
Khalid Mahmood Asim

Dr. Tahir Hussain

Amongst the first scientists who taught and researched in nuclear Physics, and produced brilliant scientists about whom he remarked: "From the theory that I taught, my students produced results " it was not an easy job but a colossal task which only unique people could perform and they did wonder”. Dr. Tahir worked with Dr. Rafi in the first Nuclear Research Laboratory and trained a number of young scientists.

He was educated at Aligarh University where he did his MSc with distinction. He accompanied Dr. Mohammad Rafi Chaudhary when the later came to Pakistan in 1948 at the invitation of the Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. At first, he taught Physics at Government College, Lahore, and after some time, proceeded to Oxford University and did PhD in Nuclear Physics. After returning to Pakistan, rejoined Government College, and was elevated to the post of Chairman of the Department of Physics. While he was at Government College, Dr. Tahir was appointed Vice-Chancellor of Azad Kashmir University, Muzaffarabad. Thereafter, he was appointed Chairman, Literacy and Mass Education for some time. Dr. Tahir was associated with the Ministry of Education as Consultant for Science and also worked as Chairman, USA Education Foundation. He has published a number of research papers in journals of international repute.

Dr. Tahir Hussain has contributed in the foundation and development of the first Nuclear Research Laboratory. In the High Tension Laboratory, scientists like Dr. Mand, Dr. Ishfaq, Dr. Mansoor and others worked under his supervision.


Prominent Scientists of Pakistan (Urdu)
Khalid Mahmood Asim

Dr. Samar Mubarak Mand

Dr. Samar Mubarak Mand, is one of the architects who have made Pakistan the first Muslim country in the world to posses a nuclear bomb. “It was the result of the efforts made by thousands of scientists and engineers” who deserve the entire nation’s gratitude.

Mand belongs to an educated family of Rawalpindi where he was born in 1941 and in the same city matriculated in 1956. Thereafter, did his FSC in 1958 from Government College, Lahore; BSC in 1960 and MSC in 1962 - attaining distinction in all of these with academic roll of honour.

He started his career as a scientist in 1962 in the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. It was during this job that he proceeded to England for higher education and did his PhD in Experimental Physics (Nuclear Physics) from Oxford University. He returned in 1966 to Pakistan and again joined AAEC. He entered into matrimonial life in 1968 and was married to a lady who herself is a scientist and a teacher. In 1974, he joined Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology and worked there on different important posts such as Director, Member Technical and Director General.

Besides his official assignments, he remained active in contributing to higher level research and published a number of research articles in journals of international repute.

He led the team of scientists who took up the nuclear task of explosion on May 28, 1998. Recalling the crucial moments he said: "My eyes were set on the mountain in which the test was to be conducted. I experienced a halt in my heartbeat on seeing nothing happening after 32 seconds. But all of a sudden it was a big jolt! We had triumphed.”

The credit of Shaheen Missile also goes to Dr. Mand and his enthusiastic team of scientists. In lieu of his meritorious services to the country, Dr. Mand was conferred with Sitara-i-Imtiaz and Hilal-i-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan.


Prominent Scientists of Pakistan (Urdu)
Khalid Mahmood Asim

Dr. Ishrat Hussain Usmani

Dr. Ishrat Hussain Usmani, (I.H.Usmani) who laid foundation of Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology was born on April 15, 1917 and educated at Bombay University where he did his BSc (Hons) in 1937, MSc in 1938 and PhD from London University. In 1942, Dr. Usmani joined Indian Civil Service and migrated to Pakistan in 1947 and continued to wok as a Civil Servant in the newly created country on different important posts for five years.

Dr. Usmani worked as Adviser Science to the President of Pakistan. Later, in 1960, he was appointed Chairman, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission which he headed till 1972. During his tenure as chairman, he engaged and trained a number of young scientists who later played pivotal role in the advancement of Nuclear Technology in Pakistan. He was the one to have laid foundation of PINSTECH and initiated Karachi Nuclear Power Plant that became functionary in 1972. At Faislabad, an Institute called Nuclear Institute for Agriculture (NIAB) was also established by Dr. Usmani. Likewise, he was responsible for establishing Nuclear Research Institutes for Medicine, Industry and Mineralogy at different cities such as Karachi, Lahore, Tando Jam, Dhaka, Chittagong and Memon Singh. It was at his initiation that a separate Ministry called the ‘Ministry of Science and Technology’ was created by the Government of Pakistan in 1972. Establishment of the Pakistan Foundation was also one of his achievements.

Dr. Usmani remained Senior Adviser for Nuclear Technology in UNO for eleven years. He has published a good number of research papers in quality research journals of international repute. He was conferred with Sitara-i-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan. Dr. Usmani departed on June 18th, 1992.


Prominent Scientists of Pakistan (Urdu)
Khalid Mahmood Asim

Dr. Sakhi Mohammad Bhutta

He is the one who made a rich contribution in the growth and development of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission by way of providing tremendous financial assistance through industrialists of Chaniot especially well known “Triple As”.

Dr. Bhutta’s contribution is two-fold-one as a scientist and the other as a source person responsible for drawing finances for the PAEC during its initial stages.

Dr. Bhutta belongs to Chaniot, District Jhung where he was born in 1941 and later completed his early education up to FSc in 1958 from his native city. He did BSc Engineering from Engineering University, Lahore, in 1961 with a distinction that made his way for a scholarship from International Atomic Energy Agency. This made it possible for him to proceed to America for higher studies and in 1964, he did is MSc in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Michigan.

After completion of his education, he returned to Pakistan and joined Karachi Nuclear Power Plant where he was elevated to the post of Director in 1965. In 1972, he was appointed its head where he worked till 1973. Later on, Dr. Bhutta was appointed as Senior Adviser of National Electrical Power Regulatory Authority, where he is still associated.


Prominent Scientists of Pakistan (Urdu)
Khalid Mahmood Asim

Dr. Ashfaque Ahmad  

The first Atomic Explosions of May 28 and 30, 1998 were done under his supervision since he was the Chairman of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission to which he remained associated since its inception.

Dr. Ashfaque belongs to Lahore where he completed his education from Government College. It was in 1951 that he did his MSc with distinction with roll of honour. In 1952, he began his career as a teacher at Government College, and later, went to Canada and obtained the Degree of Science from the University of Montréal. He worked in Research Laboratories in Denmark and France. After his return to Pakistan, he joined Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission in 1960 being among the first scientists to have joined this Commission under the chairmanship of Dr. I.H. Usmani.

Dr. Ashfaq worked in different capacities and continuously for thirty one years, remained associated with the National Nuclear Programme. He became its Chairman in 1991. He has published quality research papers in reputed Journals of national and international repute. Only recently, he has been elected member of International Nuclear Energy Academy (INEA). His membership of this Academy is not only an honour for Pakistan but for the entire Islamic World as well. He has been conferred with several awards including Sitara-i-Imtiaz; Hilal-i-Imtiaz and Nishan-i-Imtiaz.


Prominent Scientists of Pakistan (Urdu)
Khalid Mahmood Asim

Professor Dr. Abdus Salam [1926-1994]

Professor Abdus Salam one of the greatest exponents in physics of this century was born in a modest family of Jhang, in 1926. His father, Chaudhary Mohammad Husain served in Education department, Jhung. Salam received his early education in his native city doing Matric in 1940 and FSc in 1942. In 1944, he did BSc from Government College Lahore. He did MSc in 1945 and also attained MA Degree in Mathematics in 1946, Thus, Salam, has the credit of being double MA (Physics & Mathematics) at the age of only 20 years which is a record in the University of the Punjab, Lahore.

He proceeded to England in 1946 for further studies where he was educated at St. John’s College, Cambridge and Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge where he stayed for a period of three years (1946-1949). After becoming a Wrangler in double course of Physics and Mathematics returned to Pakistan in 1951 and served in the Government College, Lahore and University of the Punjab between 1952-54 as a teacher and Head of the Department of Mathematics. The year 1951, provided him with an opportunity for higher studies in Cambridge University, where he completed his Doctorate in Theoretical Physics in 1952 - once again a record to have attained a doctoral degree in a period of only one year. The world of science was stunned on the discovery of “Renormalisation Theory” put forward by Abdus Salam. He was thus conferred with a "Smith Prize" by the Cambridge University even before the award of his doctoral degree. Thereafter, he returned to Pakistan and joined Government College, Lahore, but in 1954 moved once again to England and got associated with the Cambridge University as a lecturer. In 1957, Imperial College London, offered him professorship with which he remained associated throughout.

In 1959, he was nominated Advisor to the Education Commission of Pakistan and in 1961, elevated to the post of Chief Advisor Science to the President of Pakistan - a portfolio that he held up to 1974.

Dr. Salam contributed in development of PAEC, Karachi Nuclear Plant and several organisations of Applied Physics. During 1961-64, he made rich contribution in the development of SUPARCO as its President. Dr. Salam has published a number of research articles in international research journals which were highly appreciated in concerned circles all over the world.

Dr. Salam’s greatest research achievement is ‘Theory of Unification of Forces’ or ‘Grand Unification Theory’ which is also known as "GUT". It was on this great achievement in the field of science, that Dr. Salam was conferred with ‘Nobel Prize’ in 1979 together with the ‘Americans Steven Weinberg’ and - ‘Sheldon Glashow’. He thus, is the only Pakistani scientist who is a Nobel Laureate in Physics. Salam’s ‘electroweak theory’ is still the core of the ‘standard model’ of high energy physics. After having contributed a number of research papers, establishing numerous organisations, training hundreds of scientists and after having been bestowed upon with far numbering awards and medals, this great scientist breathed his last after a prolonged illness in November 1994.

The name of Dr. Abdus Salam will be linked forever to the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste, Italy.


Prominent Scientists of Pakistan (Urdu)
Khalid Mahmood Asim

Dr. Rafi Mohammad Chaudhary [1903-1988]

Dr. Rafi, popularly known as the ‘Founder of Nuclear Science’ in Pakistan was the first who introduced research and teaching in Nuclear Science at the invitation of the Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah in 1948 when he was offered Professorship at Government College, Lahore, and the University of the Punjab, Lahore, where he initiated teaching and research programme in MSc Physics.

Dr. Rafi Mohammad Chaudhary was born in a village called Kahnaur in District Rohtak of East Punjab on 1st July 1903. After completion of his initial studies in his native place moved to Aligarh University on scholarship in 1923 where he did his MSc in 1929 with the first class first that remained an academic record for quarter of a century in the history of the Aligarh University.

The Nawab of Bhopal, awarded him a scholarship for higher studies at Cambridge University, England, where he attained PhD degree in 1933 working at famous Cavendish Laboratory. The same year he returned home and was appointed as Professor of Physics in Islamia College, Lahore, where he stayed as Chairman of Physics Department till 1938. Thereafter, he moved to Aligarh University as Chairman of Physics Department. In 1946, joined Birmingham University as Nuffield Fellow at the invitation of Professor Sir Mark Oliphant. He returned to Aligarh in 1948 and this was the time when Professor Mark, wrote to the Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah to engage Dr. Rafi for research in Nuclear Physics as, according to Prof. Mark, no other Muslim Scientist was available in the subcontinent except Dr. Chaudhary who could prove useful for the newly born country in the field of Nuclear Technology.

It would be interesting to note that when Indian Premier, Jawaharlal Nehru came to know of this development, he immediately offered him Deputy Directorship of Physics Laboratory-one of the biggest laboratories of Physics in the world. Dr. Chaudhary regretted this offer and came to Pakistan in 1948 and established Physics Department at Government College, Lahore.

He laid foundation of a High Tension Research and Training Laboratory in the College which later produced a number of scientists and became the center of attention of foreign scientists. In 1958, Prince Philip made a visit to this Laboratory and keenly watched more than twenty experiments done in the Laboratory. Later, many known foreign scientists talked high of this Laboratory and termed its overall set up as accurate as that of world-fame Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge.

In 1970, Dr. Rafi Mohammad joined the Centre for Solid State Physics, University of the Punjab, Lahore, and continued to work there as an honorary Professor and was made Professor Emeritus in 1977. It would be of interest to note that from 1932 down to 1988, Dr. Rafi published hundreds of high quality research papers in journals of national and international repute.

Dr. Rafi was conferred with Sitara-i-Imtaiz in 1982 by the President of Pakistan. The present well known scientists like Dr. Ashfaque Ahmad, Dr. Tahir Hussain, Dr. N.A. Butt, are his students.

After having served the country for about forty years, the ‘Father of Nuclear Science’ breathed his last on December 4, 1988.


Prominent Scientists of Pakistan (Urdu)
Khalid Mahmood Asim

Dr. Aurangzeb Hafi

A Pakistani scientist Dr Aurangzeb Hafi has earned a great honour for the country by developing 'Magneto-Agricultural Development Model and Sectorial Magnetic Model' for the first time in the world that will vivid far-looking and long lasting effects on agriculture, environmental and medical sciences, space biology, magnetobotanics, magnetohydrodynamics and multidisciplinary sciences.

Dr Aurangzeb Hafi disclosed this in a press conference here on Wednesday. "In Interplanetary Magnetic Fields, the origin of magnetisation of the magnetised rocks of the moon has been a great puzzle, over the decades, to all the scientists and researchers of the subject.

To come out of this puzzle, no single theory or even epistemologically based theoretical model has yet been evolved. To-date, no text, none of the research papers have given a line of research, which can lead to the factual answer.

The base of research might be a set of clues, or theoretical model, or simply an assumption, based on factual findings, on which due to it being irrefutable, a strong line and some track of research can be drawn," he claimed.

The mechanism of this relationship is not yet clearly understood, even among the world-renowned authoritative establishments of space sciences, he added.

According to him, the origin of magnetisation of the 'magnetised rocks of the moon' has been a great puzzle for the scientists of modern space sciences.

Even it has been declared as 'an important question but a great puzzle' by the scientists of USA and USSR, in a joint publication of NASA's and USSR's scientists, named 'The Foundations of Space Biology and Medicine.'

As I did research exclusively on the topic, therefore, the model was named as 'Aurangzeb Hafi's Model of Sectorial Biomagnetics,' he maintained.

He said that a model of development of sectorial boundaries has been evolved, along with 25 years Magneto-Agriculture Model, which is expected to be presented in few days to the Government of Pakistan.

Dr Hafi said that plants containing three nutriment iron, manganese and cobalt, can have incredible influence in south areas, where plants are irrigated with magnetised water can grow 40-60 percent faster than others.

To a question, he said that this development can positively affect various crops like rice, potato, tomato, wheat, sugarcane, and maize. He also said that he will be not going to give his formula to any foreign company, however, any Pakistani multinational company can take advantage of the formula.

Business Recorder, January 30 2003