Abdul Hafeez (chemist)

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Abdul Hafeez
Born 1882
Aligarh, Aligarh district, tate of Uttar Pradesh, British India.
Died 1964
Residence Vienna, Republic of Austria and Lahore, West Pakistan.
Citizenship Pakistan
Nationality PAKISTANI
Fields Radiochemistry
Institutions Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF)
Pakistan Army Chemical Laboratories (PACL)
Punjab University (PU)
Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation (MACIC)
Steyr Mannlicher (Austria)
Steyr-Daimler-Puch (Austria)
Alma mater Aligarh Muslim University (AMU)
University of Marburg (UM)
Doctoral students Hakim Nayyar Wasti
Muhammad Yousaf Mohsin
Known for Founder of Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) and his work in Explosives engineering
Influences Dr. Richard Abegg

Dr. Abdul Hafeez was a Pakistani weapons scientist and radiochemist. Hafeez was one of the early pioneer of Pakistan Ordnance Factories at Wah Cantt who made an extraordanary efforts to build and develop medium and high-tech weapons for Pakistan Armed Forces. Hafeez was also a Pan-Islamist and political analyst who had long criticised British imperialism and influence in Muslim world.[1]

He was a distinguished political activist of Pakistan Movement. He published numerous papers and supported Pakistan Movement, criticising both Anglo-Hindu alliance. After his open-protest, the Her Majesty's Government banned him from entering India.[1] He migrated to Pakistan in late 1950s. He played an important and crucial role in Pakistan's Armed Defence Industries and helped Pakistani scientists to established high-powered Chemistry research institutes in Pakistan.

Education and life[edit]

Abdul Hafeez received his intermediate education from Aligarh, British India, attending Aligarh Muslim University where he studied double majors, receiving BSc with honours in Chemistry and Mathematics from there. He later completed his MSc in Theoretical Chemistry from there. In 1905, he went to Great Britain on a University Scholarship and attended University of Birmingham. While at University of Birmingham, he studied and research in the field of Explosive materials and Radiochemisrty.[1]

However, he irritated the Birmingham University officials when he published his PhD thesis in the name of Afghanistan's Habibullāh Kalakāni. The University refused to give him the Doctoral Degree. Soon after, Hafeez left Great Britain and moved to Germany where he, then, attended University of Marburg where he was awarded his PhD in Radiochemistry and Explosive Chemistry in 1908.[1] He also specialised in weapon technology and explosive materials from there.[1]

Involvement in Turkey's Defence Industries[edit]

After his doctoral studies, Hafeez was asked by United States Government to join and served in American weapon production industries. However, Hafeez turned American offers down and moved to Istanbul, Turkey. He joined Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation. During the 1920s, the Khilafat Movement was taking place; Hafeez, with Islamist ideology and Islamic ideas, supported the idea of movement. However, after the collapse of the movement, he immediately left Turkey and went back to Austria.

Career at Steyr Mannlicher[edit]

Hafeez joined Steyr Mannlicher as a chief weapon scientist and radiation weapon technologist where he worked closely with fellow Soviet weapon scientists in 1924. After having a long and distinguished career at Steyr Mannlicher, Hafeez successfully manufactured and developed high power machine guns and provided technical assistance to Austrian Army. Hafeez continued working at Steyr Mannlicher till 1957 until he was personally asked by the former Prime Minister of Pakistan Khawaja Nazimuddin.

Career at POF[edit]

Hafeez joined Pakistan Ordnance Factories at Wah Cantonment on 1957. He was put in charge of POF where he was responsible to produce man-power and technical labs for ammunition and explosive materials. As weapon scientist, he inducted the explosives and chemical-biological laboratory under Pakistan Army Corps of Engineers. Hafeez successfully founded the radiological science research institutes at POF where in future, the laboratory provides critical training in the manufacture and testing of chemical explosives and allied products. Received initial training in Ordnance Training Laboratory at the Punjab University's Chemistry department.

However, after Ayub Khan's government signed a weapon-co-operation deal with Royal Ordnance Factory, Hafeez resigned from his position in 1960s. After his retirement from POF, he joined Punjab University's Chemistry department as a full-time professor. At the university, he also taught Turkish language.


In 1960, Hafeez moved to Austria where he re-joined Steyr Mannlicher. During the time, his Austrian–Pakistani wife was suffering from acute myeloid leukaemia.[2] His wife, Aynmar Rishta Mehrun Nisa, died in 1964. The same year, he suffered a cardial arrest and was immediately taken to hospital where it was announced that he died. Hafeez and his wife's body was taken to Pakistan where they are buried in Karachi Cemetery.[2]

Due to his contribution to Pakistan's Armed Forces but he was refused to give credit of his achievements. That is why, his comrades and collaborators at POF, have called his as "Pakistan’s unsung, uncared for and unused scientist".


  1. ^ a b c d e "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-29.  Abdul Hafeez
  2. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 2009-09-29. 

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