A day when skies, hearts said adieu to Mohsin-e-Pakistan

Zubair Qureshi

Renowned nuclear scientist and Father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan popularly known as Dr AQ Khan was buried in Islamabad’s H-8 Graveyard Sunday leaving millions of Pakistanis in the country and abroad mourning his death.

It was a cloudy Sunday and skies were overcast with dark clouds when hundreds and thousands of Pakistanis, particularly the residents of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, rushed out of their homes after receiving the shocking news of DR AQ Khan’s passing away.

This was, according to them, the worst nightmare they feared when recently they learnt Dr AQ Khan was hospitalized after being diagnosed with Covid-19.

Braving the cold winds, showers and security issues, they joined the caravan that was heading towards the Faisal Masjid with one aim in mind, to attend the funeral prayers of the Mohsin-e-Pakistan and participate in the collective Dua afterwards.

Little they realized the weather as well as the security situation could make things a little bit difficult for them but it was their deeply-set love and devotion for the Father of the country’s nuclear programme which kept them moving along.

It was literally a congregation of thousands that in rainy weather and harsh climate paid last respects to the great friend and a true hero of the people of Pakistan.

The body of Dr AQ Khan was later escorted in a military convoy from the Faisal Masjid to the H-8 Graveyard where he was to be buried as per his will and wish of his family. Again, the fans of Dr AQ Khan walked all the way from the site of the funeral prayer to the graveyard.

Among those who followed the procession, included people of all age groups— from a boy of 12 to an old man of 80— and professions, from engineers, doctors, scientists, journalists, lawyers, judges, bureaucrats, businessmen to teachers, students, office clerks, stenos, common men and women.

A man, Qurban Ali, 84, a resident of Abbottabad had come from his city to attend the funeral prayer. His back was bent half due to age but eyes were shining with the conviction he was living in a ‘Pakistan’ whose defence was secured by Dr AQ Khan.

“I am witness to the day (May 28, 1999) when the whole nation was jubilant over the nuclear tests conducted by Dr AQ Khan and his team in the government of Nawaz Sharif,” said Qurban.
The day was celebrated like Independence Day, he said.

Another man, Hameed, a shopkeeper from Rawalpindi’s Gawalmandi, said he closed the shop when he heard about Dr Sahib’s death. Attending his funeral and paying him our respects will be remembered to me for the rest of my life and opening or closing of a shop doesn’t mean anything.

Likewise, people from neighbouring Gujjar Khan, Rwat, Tarnol, Haripur and even Peshawar and Galliayat and Murree had come in large numbers to attend Dr AQ Khan’s funeral prayers and send the nuclear scientist to his last journey in prayers. Indeed it was a day when skies as well as hearts were outpouring.

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