Nuclear scientist Abdul Qadir Khan

Abdul Qadir Khan

Famous Scientists Abdul Qadir KhanThe Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadir Khan is famous to steal atomic secrets from Dutch companies. He used the knowledge to make the first Pakistani atomic bomb, and then sold information to North Korea, Libya and Iran. 

Technician Frits Veerman, former colleague of Abdul Qadir Khan, defines him as “A charming, intelligent man, always interested”. Veerman invariably calls him by his first name. Veerman and ‘Abdul’ worked together at the Amsterdam Stork FDO between 1973 and 1975. Then they were acquainted with this technology at Urenco in Almelo, the  enriched uranium supplier for the British, German and Dutch governments. Here Khan had all the secrets at his fingertips. Stork FDO and Urenco have been a paradise for Abdul Qadir Khan.

The complications surrounding the Pakistani nuclear scientist reads like an exciting spy thriller.  It’s not a fiction, but rather a harsh reality. “A reality for many millions of people that may cost lives” says Veerman. According to him, Abdul Qadir Khan had to be very determined to steal from Urenco. “Our research department was a lab full of technical specialists and issues such as security of documents was not taking the first place”says Veerman, sitting on the terrace of a roadside restaurant in Hilversum.

He wanted to know everything …

“Abdul Qadir Khan makes good use of the position he gets to  find and steal the most secret documents of Stork FDO and Urenco.Ferryman throughout the mid 70s. Abdul Qadir Khan had often secretive talks on the phone. He clutched several colleagues for information, he wanted to know everything about the process of uranium enrichment. Then I saw that he had more than a professional interest. He invited me to Pakistan at his cost and after I rejected his offer I received an invitation   from the Government of Pakistan on my doorstep.”

During a visit to Khan’s house, Veerman receives proof of espionage. “I saw all of drawings and classified intelligence reports lying around. It could not be otherwise: Abdul was a spy. ”

In late 1975’s Kahn flied  to Pakistan for holiday and didn’t  turn back and the last thing heard from Abdul Qadir Khan  was a telegram until when he came back in the news as the father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb.”

After the sudden departure of the atomic spy curious things happen. The suppliers of Urenco repeatedly travelled to Pakistan. Dutch businessmen were standing in line to maintain Abdul Qadir Khan as a customer. For example, businessman Henk Slebos supplies parts for enrichment centrifuges, Tilburg Van Doorne Transmissions ensures the rotors and the Eindhoven Gemco seems to have done with the marketing this lucrative business.

Even in 2003, the year that has long been known as Khan has made an atomic bomb, business delegations from the Netherlands attended  to his  nuclear ‘congress’ in Pakistan. Even serious scientists are named as members of the network. Professor Martin Brabers, Khan’s Professor at the University of Leuven, is the only one to  admit. He relies on his “moral duty” to “assist former students”. “But,” he implores in an interview. “I do not help them in making an atomic bomb.”

Kahn was seen in  Netherlands even after he was exposed as atomic spy. During a traffic stop in 1988, the Pakistani nuclear scientist was arrested while sitting in the car with businessman Henk Slebos. Khan was deported because he did not possess the proper documentation. In 1992 he even got a visa to visit his ill father. This travel document he receives at the hands of none other than Arthur Doctors van Leeuwen, the former head of the National Security Service (BVD) that takes him  from the airport personally.

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