Munir Ahmad Khan: The Man Behind Pakistan’s Nuclear Energy


 Perhaps most of us are not familiar with this name and the contributions made by this name in the field of science.

Munir Ahmad Khan was among the leading minds who are referred as the “Fathers of Pakistan’s Atomic Bomb Energy Commission’’. He was the main mind behind the plutonium bomb of Pakistan which had the biggest yield of energy ever recorded for a nuclear weapon. We all read articles that say Pakistan’s atomic bomb is the 2nd most powerful bomb in this world after Tsar Bomb of Russia but no one tells us that it was only possible because of Munir Ahmad Khan.

Munir Ahmad Khan, if read upon, is an inspiration for all youngsters of Pakistan who don’t score good grades in exams and are taunted by the society for not doing well.

In an Interview given to a Journalist in 1992, Munir Ahmed Khan said that his childhood wasn’t that great. He had to face a lot of hardships during his childhood. His siblings were smarter than him in studies and in other activities. On the other hand, he always got passing marks and he wasn’t that smart in either of the activities like sport. His parent used to taunt him for not scoring good grades. His father wanted him to memories Quran but sadly he failed to do that too. When he told his father that he tried hard to memorize Quran but he could not do it. His father started beating him up and told him that a man who can’t even memorize Quran can never succeed in life and saying that he kicked him out.

After getting kicked out, he roamed around the city of Kasur for two days without eating and drinking anything. After two days, his uncle (chachu) found him and took him home. Munir Khan mentioned that the only person who trusted him was his uncle. He remained at his uncle’s place for six months. While he was there, his uncle used to take him to the school where his uncle worked as a math’s teacher. In this way, he could keep up with his studies. After six months, his parents came to his uncle’s place and took him back home. His parents after being convinced by his uncle decided to give him a second chance and let him do what he wanted to do.

After he graduated from high school, everyone told him that getting admission in a science subject would be hard for him with the grades he had. So, after all the rejections he got, he stated that he prayed day and night to Allah with strong believe and his prayer worked and he got his admission in Government University of Lahore, which changed his life forever.

The amount of rejections he had already faced in life, increased to one more in 1976 when his fellow scientist doubted his ideas and told him that the thesis which he was suggesting are irrelevant and impossible. After that Munir Ahmed Khan had to counter many scientific oppositions with his fellow scientists. Like the most famous counter was with Abdul Qadeer Khan.

Munir Ahmad Khan was in favor of using plutonium in atomic bomb while Abdul Qadeer Khan was in favor of uranium. Many scientists working with him said that it’s impossible to use plutonium in a bomb with the resources they currently had. But after having a lot of arguments the scientist decided to create two different bombs one had uranium in it and other had plutonium in it. First the bomb with uranium U-235 was created and its test was successful. When they started working on the plutonium bomb they found out that it was impossible to create a plutonium bomb with the resources they currently had.

Everyone told him that it’s impossible he should give up. But he kept working on it and he even called Dr. Abdu’s Salaam for his help. At that time, Dr. Abdu’s Salaam was in UK.

After one year of hard work Munir Ahmad Khan and his team could build a Plutonium based bomb. In May 1998, when the plutonium bomb(Chagai-ii) was tested. It had the largest yield of energy which any nuclear bomb ever released.

                                  * In his last days, he told his nephew (Tariq Raza khan) that most of his problems were solved not because he worked hard or asked others for help. They were solved because he believed in Allah and asked for his help whenever he needed it. The best thing was Allah never disappointed him. *



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