111 510 510 libonline@riphah.edu.pk Contact

Unsung heroes

In these columns I am introducing those patriotic Pakistani colleagues at Kahuta who helped make Pakistan into a nuclear and missile power. Eng Nurul Mustafa, formerly of PAEC, decided to stay on our team. He was Dr F H Hashmi’s right-hand man and troubleshooter and, as a mechanical engineer, proved his worth. He was intelligent, competent, knowledgeable and experienced. In an enrichment plant, containers are used to keep the uranium hexafluoride gas (UF6) in during the natural, depleted and enriched stages.

Other containers, known as desublimers, are used to collect the enriched and depleted gases coming from the plant to first freeze it, then melt it before transferring to yet other containers. One may well imagine the complicated structure of such containers. Both types were under complete embargo and I had decided at an early stage that we would need to be self-sufficient.

Nurul Mustafa was given this task and, with great efficiency and competence, he set up production facilities, made drawings and prepared the various components. We were lucky to have a very competent welding expert, Dr Mushtaq Pathan, whom I had sent to England to do a doctorate in welding technology. These two people, together with able and dedicated junior staff, delivered perfect products in a short span of time.

Nurul Mustafa, like most of my colleagues, was religious but not a fundamentalist. He lived at Humak Village and wanted to build a mosque there but was unable to collect sufficient funds. He asked for my assistance and soon the necessary funds for a beautiful mosque for about 500 people were collected and the mosque was ready. I was asked to inaugurate it.

Nurul Mustafa was very popular with his colleagues. He was very work-conscious and would not rest until the task in hand was done. At one point he went to Malaysia on an official trip, returned at about 2am on a Sunday morning but left for Kahuta at 8am, hardly having had any sleep. Near Paniali on Kahuta Road he probably dozed off and drove straight into a tree, where he expired. We were all shattered. He was a gem of a person and his services to the nation are known only to me and my colleagues. May Allah rest his soul in eternal peace – Ameen.

Mr Mutahir Aijazi was an old colleague of Dr Hashmi, Dr Mirza, Dr Ashraf Atta, Eng Nurul Mustafa, etc. from PAEC. He also opted to remain with ERL. He was efficient, experienced, hard-working and with a good knowledge of vacuum technology. He worked with Dr Hashmi and helped with all the leak-free installations of the plant. He was a very useful member of our pioneering team and we benefited from his experience. Unfortunately, I have no idea what he is doing now, after retirement. I wish him all the best in the future. May God bless him and his family – Ameen.

Dr Abdul Majid also came from PAEC. I sent him to Birmingham, from where he obtained his PhD in Physics. He was assistant to Mr Mansoor Ahmad in the Health Physics and Industrial Safety Division which played a very important role in monitoring radioactivity and the safety of the plant and its staff. Plant and staff were regularly checked with dosimeters and urine samples of staff taken and we, fortunately, never had any accident.

Dr Majid really wanted to occupy Mr Mansoor’s chair and was, consequently, often at loggerheads with him. I told him to cool it until his turn came. After Mr Mansoor’s retirement he became DG and served well. After his own retirement he joined the International Islamic University as DG of Research and Planning. He left the job after a few years and went toCanada to join his wife and children there.

Dr Anwarul Haq, with a PhD in Physics fromGermany, was a very competent, amicable, hard-working colleague. He had sound knowledge and expertise of physics/metallurgy and was thus placed with Dr Hashmi. He soon proved himself to be an excellent worker who could operate highly sensitive machines like tensile, fatigue testing and metal vapour deposition machines as well as sophisticated microscopes, the heat treatment of centrifuge parts, nickel coating of maraging steel tubes, etching of ball bearings, etc.

Together we published a large number of excellent papers in international journals and presided over international conferences and workshops. We had planned to write a book on Physical Metallurgy together, but this could not materialise due to the mischief played by Musharraf. Dr Anwarul Haq retired as DG Metallurgy Division and is now dean and professor at Rifah International University,Islamabad. He had an excellent team in Dr M. Farooq (now DG), Dr. Zafar Iqbal (now professor at Rifah) and many other talented colleagues. The services of all these colleagues helped Pakistan become the first Islamic nuclear power and the seventh in the world. Their deeds should be written in golden letters in the annals of Pakistan’s achievements.

Note: Every year the country is flooded by heavy rains — village under water and people uprooted. Millions of acres of sweet water are flowing out to the sea. Ours is an agricultural country but, unfortunately, due to the incompetence of successive rulers, we are importing items of daily use like onions, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, wheat and sugar and spending millions of valuable dollars. Despite numerous suggestions, no appropriate measures are being taken.

Geo, the country’s largest and most popular TV channel, has been out for more than four months. Cable operators totally ignore judicial orders. The government has the powers to enforce judgement but simply looks the other way. It seems Nawaz Sharif, Pervez Rashid and Nisar have all had a hand in this.

We have not forgotten Nawaz’s vindictiveness against Jang Group in the nineties. If they are not part of it all, why don’t they take action against the cable operators and remove them? There are others who could easily operate the network. But for that you need the will to act and the honesty to do so.

It is most unfortunate that the visit of the Chinese president has been cancelled thanks to Imran Khan and Dr Qadri. Nawaz and Nisar should have either banned Qadri from entering Pakistan (he is, after all, a Canadian national) or they should have put him under house arrest in his Model Town residence in Lahore.

Without him and his hired lady teachers and their relatives, Imran’s sit-in would have been like a balloon without air. Hooligans of both sides broke into parliament, the presidency premises and PTV and the government’s writ was nowhere to be seen. Even now cars are being stopped and searched with the police as mere spectators. Nawaz and his coterie are not serving the country well. May Allah bring us deliverance soon – Ameen. To be continued

Email: dr.a.quadeer.khan@gmail.com

Dr. A. Q. Khan, "Unsung heroes," The News. 2014-09-15.
Keywords: Science and technology , Nuclear power , Government-Pakistan , Physics , Nurul Mustafa , PM Nawaz Sharif , Dr. Anwarul Haq , Dr. Ashraf Atta , Mansoor Ahmad , Pakistan , England , Germany , PAEC , PhD , PTV