Muhammad Hafeez Qureshi

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Muhammad Hafeez Qureshi
Born 28 January 1930
Kapurthala, Punjab, British India
Died 11 August 2007(2007-08-11) (aged 77)
Lahore, Punjab Lahore
Residence Islamabad, Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT)
Citizenship Pakistan
Nationality Pakistani
Fields Mechanical Engineering
Institutions Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC)
Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH)
Karachi Mechanical Laboratories (KML)
Alma mater Michigan State University, United States
Academic advisors Dr. Michael David Burton
Known for Nuclear Deterrent Program
Influenced Dr. Naeem Ahmad Khan
Notable awards Sitara-e-Imtiaz (1992)
Hilal-i-Imtiaz (2000)

Muhammad Hafeez Qureshi (Urdu: محمد حفيظ قريشي), Nuclear Physics. SI, HI, (born: 28 January 1930 – 11 August 2007), also known as Hafeez Qureshi, was a Pakistani nuclear scientist. Qureshi was most known as the Director-General of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission and the Directorate for Technical Development (DTD), a secretive institution of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission that was mandate to developed the components necessary in the nuclear weapons technology in the 1970s, and had also known for his participation, as Director General of DTD, in Kirana-I on 1983, and the Chagai-I and Chagai-II in May 1998. Qureshi was an expert weapon technology and long-range thermonuclear missiles. Qureshi, under his college mentor and professor dr. Naeem Ahmad Khan, gained expertise in the fields of missile technology, aerodynamics, and nuclear physics. A nuclear physicist by profession, Qureshi made significant contribution in nuclear physics and quantum applied mechanics.

During his career, Qureshi had worked closely with well-known and a prominent Pakistani nuclear engineer Munir Ahmad Khan in weapon development project. At Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), Qureshi, along with Munir Ahmad Khan and dr. Samar Mubarakmand, developed a thermonuclear weapons capability for Pakistan's Nuclear weapons and the Integrated missile programme. In the 1980s, he had closely worked with another fellow nuclear engineer Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood in thermonuclear reprocessing and enrichment program.


Early life and education[edit]

Muhammad Hafeez Qureshi was born in Kapurthala, British India to a Muslim family. In 1956, Qureshi attended Karachi University where he did MSc Physics, he partly supported his studies by working as a motor mechanic.[1] In Romny, his schoolmate and friend was future famous Optical physicist dr. Muhammad Jameel, an optical physicist who was also present at that time when Pakistan tested its nuclear devices in Ras Koh Hills.[1] Hafeez Qureshi attended Michigan State University where he studied and got his major in Nuclear Physics M.Sc. and started his PhD from there in 1960. After his master's degree, Hafeez Qureshi came back to Pakistan where he joined Karachi Mechanical Laboratories (KML) and was put in-charge of Mechanical Engineering Department (MED).[citation needed] Shortly, he left KML, and through Muhammad Jameel, Qureshi joined Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) in 1965, where he also specialised in nuclear physics under the supervision of dr. Naeem Ahmad Khan, and become a distinguished professor of mechanical engineering.[citation needed]

Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission[edit]

In 1964, Qureshi had joined the Karachi Mechanical Laboratories of the fledgling Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), which remained his lifelong career and passion.[1] After his undergraduate degree, Qureshi returned to Pakistan, and kept his association with PAEC. In 1962, Abdus Salam had established the PAEC-Lahore Center, Qureshi was given the charge to lead the installation of the first experimental source — a Neutron generator— for the necessary research to be carried out in the field of nuclear and particle physics.[1] After the installation, Qureshi went back to United States to complete his post-graduate degree.[citation needed] While he was part of Salam's team, Qureshi had developed close relationship with Abdus Salam as Salam was impressed by Qureshi's talent to solve complex mathematical problems that arise in the field of nuclear reactor designing and technology in spite of his academic discipline.[2] Salam had PAEC to award scholarship for Qureshi's post-graduate and advanced studies in his academic discipline.[citation needed] Qureshi travelled to United States and returned to Pakistan under the contract signed by the PAEC.[citation needed]

In 1965, Abdus Salam had led the establishment the Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH). Establishment of Pinstech was a brainchild and dream of Abdus Salam, who initiated this mega project. In 1965, after joining the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, Qureshi was sent to Pinstech to do the post-graduate research in applied physics. Qureshi was part of Abdus Salam's team that had supervise the construction of nuclear pilePARR-I— at Pinstech in Nilore.[3] Salam's team had supervised the criticality of the reactor in 1965.[4] In 1967, Naeem Ahmad Khan, a nuclear physicist and head of the Nuclear Physics Division (NPD), had formed the influential Nuclear Physics Group (NPG), and invited Qureshi to do research in nuclear physics. The NPG was also joined by nuclear engineer Sultan Mahmood and nuclear physicist dr. Samar Mubarakmand.[citation needed] The NPG took initiatives to study the methods of Gas centrifuge to produce High Enriched Uranium (HEU).[5] The research was led under Mubarakmand as he was the pioneering member of the NPG.[citation needed] While, Naeem Ahmad Khan insued research in Plutonium recycling and reprocess methods of plutonium.[citation needed] Qureshi had studied and worked in both uranium and plutonium technology, and gained fame in NPD as he was known to adept in the art of solving complex mechanical problems in nuclear reactors and reprocessing methods.[citation needed]

In early of 1971, Naeem Ahmad Khan established the Radiation Isotope Application Division (RIAD) where he served its first director.[6] In December 1971, Qureshi was preceded by his mentor Naeem Ahmad Khan, with a full support provided by Khan to Qureshi.[7] In 20 January 1972, Qureshi was unable to attend the meeting managed by Abdus Salam, known as Multan Meeting which led the establishment of Pakistan's Nuclear Deterrent Programme. Through his mentor Naeem Ahmad Khan, Qureshi was came to know the knowledge of every words discussed in the meeting chaired by Prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.[8] In 1979, Qureshi and Munir Ahmad Khan led the construction of third nuclear pile, PARR-III reactor, near at Nilore. The reactor's designing process was led by Munir Ahmad Khan and Qureshi and Corps of Engineers led the construction of this plutonium separation reactor.[9] In 1980, the reactor west critical under Ishfaq Ahmad and attained its full power in 1981.[10] The reactor was reprocessed at 50% effiency, and produces the first batch of weapon-grade plutonium in 1982.[11]

Wah Group Scientists[edit]

In March 1974, Qureshi was summoned by Chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission Munir Ahmad Khan.[7] The meeting was attended by Abdus Salam Riazuddin, Ishfaq Ahmad, and Munir Ahmad Rashid.[7] Qureshi was asked to developed the mechanics and chemical components, tempers, explosive lenses for the weapon.[7] Khan told Qureshi that he join hands on a project of national importance with another expert, dr. Zaman Sheikh, a chemical engineer from DESTO.[7] A codename, Wah Group Scientist (WGS), was given for the group that was established.[7]

Following the success of surprise nuclear test —codename Smiling Buddha— conducted by India under the Premiership of Indira Gandhi, a meeting was called by the Chairman of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission Munir Ahmad Khan to initiate the research on developing the first fission weapon.[12] The meeting was attended by Abdus Salam and Riazuddin as the representatives of Theoretical Physics Group (TPG), Asghar Qadir and Munir Ahmad Rashid of Mathematical Physics Group, Ishfaq Ahmad of Nuclear Physics Group, and Qureshi and dr. Zaman of Wah Group Scientists (WGS).[13] During the meeting, the word Bomb was never used, instead the academic scientists used scientific research rationale.[14] There, the scientists decided to develop an 'implosion' over the 'gun' type fission device citing economy in the use of fissile material.[15]

The Wah Group Scientists (WGS), under Qureshi and Sheikh, was charged with to developed the chemical explosive lenses, tempers, and its related the technologies.[16] The WGS also took initiatives in high precision mechanical and chemical components —how tempers would be developed to produce the efficiency and high precision data – physics calculations – what would its appropriate time reaction when the explosives makes contact with nuclear material, high explosives—what kind of chemical material would be used, and triggering mechanisms —how the weapon would be detonated.[17] The Pinstech had lack of facility to carried out these experiments in a laboratories.[18]

On 25 March 1974, Abdus Salam, along with Munir Ahmad Khan and Riazuddin, visited Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) where Salam held talks with Lieutenant-General Qamar Ali Mirza where military engineers first built the Metallurgical Laboratory (ML) in Wah Cantt in 1976.[19] At ML, the WGS developed the complex optical lenses and chemical high-explosive materials and triggering mechanism which the task was completed in 1979.[20]

Directorate for Technical Development (DTD)[edit]

On 11 March 1983, Qureshi and Zaman had eye-witnessed the successful cold-fission test, codename Kirana-I, near at the Kirana Hills.[21] Both engineers were charged with another task to form, this division known as Directorate for Technical Development (DTD). The DTD examined the same problems as previous WGS, this time with improvising the techniques every time PAEC carried the tests.[22] In the 1990s, the DTD had carried out witnessed the tests of 24 different improved designs, developed by Theoretical Physics Group (TPG).[23] The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission had followed a very strict policy to developed the such programmes critical to national security under extreme security and as others, Qureshi gained national fame in May 1998.[24] In 1987, the Integrated Missile Research and Development Programme was started by MoD and 1993, the work on solid fuel missile development was started under Samar Mubarakmad. As DTD's primary member, Qureshi had richly contributed and participated in Shaheen Missile Program.

Following the series of nuclear tests conducted by India, codename Operation Shakti on 11 May, and the Pokhran-II, under the Premiership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. On 28 May, Prime minister Nawaz Sharif ordered Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) to carried out the nuclear tests, codename Chagai-I, in Ras Koh area of Chagai Hills. Qureshi, as the part of DTD, supervised the first five tests of nuclear devices, evidently made from HEU.[25] On 30 May, PAEC carried out the another test, codename Chagai-II, at Kharan desert, and it was reported to be a plutonium weapon-grade device.[26]


Muhammad Hafeez Qureshi had performed in most secretive and confidential programme for the Government of Pakistan, and because of the nature of his work, Qureshi's public profile remain hidden until his retirement in PAEC as a senior scientist in 2005. Even after his retirement from PAEC, Hafeez Qureshi continued to serve the country and remained associated with Pakistan's strategic programmes until his death in 2007.[citation needed] In recognition of his contribution to country's nuclear deterrent programme, he was awarded the Sitara-e-Imtiaz (Order of Star) by President Of Pakistan, Ishaq Khan in 1992, in a colourful public ceremony held in Presidensy. In 2000, after leading the secretive DTD, he was bestowed with Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Order of Crescent) in March 2000, as part of recognising the services of scientists in the nuclear deterrent programme, by then President of Pakistan, Rafique Tarar.

In May 2007, he had a minor heart attack and he was taken to POF hospital and got cured. In June 2007 he went for an angiography from AFIC and got a complete check-up and over there this knowledge came that he has a cyst on his left lung; for the treatment of that cyst he went to Shaukat Khanam Hospital Lahore. He was operated in last week of June 2007 and cyst was removed from his lung and he got pneumonia over there and on 8 August 2007, he suffered a severe cardiac arrest. And he was put on machines in Shaukat Khanam Hospital. On 11 August 2007 he had another cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead. He was buried in Wah Cantt, where his colleagues and scientists at PAEC paid tribute for his services to the nation. PAEC scientists and engineers who worked under him, called him a "Patriotic and Honest Scientist" who dedicated his life for his country and profession.[citation needed]


  • Rahman, Shahid (1998). "§The Group at Wah". In Rahman, Shahid. Long Road to Chagai. Islamabad, Pakistan: Printwise publication. pp. 2–15 and 41–105. ISBN 969-8500-00-6.  |first2= missing |last2= in Editors list (help)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 42–43)
  2. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 10–11)
  3. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 11)
  4. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 48–59)
  5. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 70–71)
  6. ^ a b c d e f Azam, Rai Muhammad Saleh (June 2000). "When Mountains Move – The Story of Chagai: §The Wah Group: Designers and Manufacturers of Pakistan’s Nuclear Device.". Defence Journal. The Nation. Retrieved 2008. 
  7. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 89)
  8. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 51–52)
  9. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 53)
  10. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 109)
  11. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 38)
  12. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 38–39)
  13. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 39)
  14. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 39–40)
  15. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 70–85)
  16. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 76–78)
  17. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 80)
  18. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 55–60)
  19. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 85–88)
  20. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 89–90)
  21. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 91)
  22. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 92–93)
  23. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 100–103)
  24. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 104)
  25. ^ (Rahman 1998, pp. 105)

External links[edit]