Parvez Butt

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Parvez Butt
Born (1942-10-04) 4 October 1942 (age 74)
Gujranwala, Punjab, Pakistan
Citizenship Pakistan
Nationality Pakistani
Fields Nuclear engineering
Institutions Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC)
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
General Electric Canada (GE Canada)
Ministry of Science and Technology (MST)
Planning Commission of Pakistan (PCP)
Alma mater University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore (UET)
University of Toronto (UT)
Known for Pakistan's nuclear program
Influenced Abdus Salam
Notable awards Hilal-e-Imtiaz and Sitara-e-Imtiaz and NISHAN-I-IMTIAZ

Pervez Butt (or Pervaz Butt) (born 4 October 1942) is a Pakistani nuclear engineer and the former chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) from 2001 to 2006. A nuclear engineer by profession, Parvez Butt played an important role in the development of the Pakistan's nuclear power and weapons program. As chairman of PAEC, Parvez Butt helped establishing the particle accelerators, nuclear power plants, and started the research program to the field of Nuclear medicines. Parvez Butt is currently serving as an assistant professor of nuclear engineering at the Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and also serving as a "Science and Technology" member at the Planning Commission of Pakistan.


Born in Gujranwala, Punjab, Pakistan. At age 16, Butt was admitted to University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, with a full engineering scholarship. In 1962, Butt graduated and received his BS in Mechanical engineering from University of Engineering and Technology.[1] After his graduation, Butt was employed in Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), and joined PAEC-Lahore Center, where he did his post-graduate research at Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. Butt was awarded the PAEC scholarship in 1964 by the PAEC chairman Dr. I. H. Usmani, and fled to Canada on the advice of Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad. He was enrolled in Engineering School of the University of Toronto, where he completed and received his MS in nuclear engineering from the University of Toronto in 1965.[2]

Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission[edit]

Pervez Butt joined the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission in 1963 as "Principal Engineer" (PE), and following his master's degree, he was upgraded to become a Chief Engineer (CE) in 1966. Butt was part of the Pakistani delegation that led to a successful agreement with General Electric to supply country's first CANDU type-nuclear reactor, under the name of Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP). Butt was involved in the project's design, installation, operation and maintenance since very beginning of the project. From 1965 to 1970, he worked in the design office of Canadian General Electric, Peterborough, Ontario. Canada.[3] In 1971, after the 1971 war, Butt came back to Pakistan and re-joined PAEC. The PAEC, under Munir Ahmed Khan, began to developed nuclear weapons by the prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Parvez Butt was made part of the nuclear weapons design and manufacture program with the full backing of Munir Ahmad Khan. He was also a part of the PAEC team that was mandated to buy and purchase equipment and machinery from abroad. In 1974, Butt was transferred to the Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH), where he was made director-general of "Nuclear Engineering Division" (NED). NED, along with NPD (Nuclear Physics Division), developed the first nuclear device, codename "HMX-3". In 1974, Parvez Butt was part of the PAEC team that had indigenously designed built the PARR-II Reactor. While the project was led by Munir Ahmad Khan and Hafeez Qureshi, Butt took part in designing of the reactor. In 1975, Munir Ahmad Khan assigned another project to Parvez Butt. In 1975, Parvez Butt was the head of the team that was responsible for producing the first UF6.[citation needed] Pervez Butt also played an important role in designing neutron particle accelerator at PARR-II. He had worked closely with well-known Pakistani nuclear scientist Dr. Samar Mubarakmand in establishing a neutron particle accelerator. He worked closely with his mentor and former PAEC chairman, Munir Ahmad Khan in building nuclear power plants.

To develop indigenous capability, Butt was assigned the responsibility for the establishment of large infrastructure organisation, consisting of design and development and testing facilities and large manufacturing workshops.[4] The national industrial training centres for welding (Pakistan Welding Institute) and non-destructive testing (NCNDT), to ensure high quality production, are among other organisations established by him.[5]

He also designed the Chashma Nuclear Power Plant. He was appointed director of the PAEC, in 1994 and chairman of PAEC in 2001. On 26 July, as new Chairman of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, he established five more nuclear medicines centres in the country and trained the staff of other health institutions in nuclear medicines and methods.

During his tenure of 5 years as chairman, he successfully took actions to accelerate the growth in various areas of activities in which PAEC is involved and created many new organisations. These included research organisations in agriculture, establishing more nuclear medical centres, expansion in nuclear power generation, search and mining of uranium, industrialisation, self-reliance, human resource development etc.

Nuclear energy program[edit]

Butt was actively involved in Pakistan's civilian nuclear program. He, along with other Pakistani nuclear scientists, visited People's Republic of China in 1986 to lead a Civilian Nuclear Technology agreement between Pakistan and People's Republic of China. He was actively involved in the technical and contractual negotiations for the Chinese nuclear power plants and as chairman PAEC signed the contract for the second unit in 2004.

Nuclear hazard issue[edit]

Parvez Butt as PAEC chairman faced an important environmental issue at Baghalchur, a former uranium exploration site, which was used in 1978 to 2000. The site was closed in 2000. In an interview with BBC, Butt has stated: "It is being done in keeping with the international standards for storing nuclear waste". PAEC chairman was summoned by the Supreme Court of Pakistan on the nuclear waste issue in which he gave assurance to supreme court of Pakistan that the radioactive and nuclear waste material has been taken care under the international standard.[6]

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)[edit]

Pervez Butt headed PAEC at IAEA meeting where he, as a chairman of PAEC, signed a contract with IAEA. On 3 September 2004, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has mandated Pakistan to extensively use nuclear energy for civilian purposes in agriculture, industrial, health, education and environment sectors. IAEA had decided to offer substantial funding for 24 research projects, findings of which would be shared with other Asian countries.[7]

Pakistan had become the "highest recipient of IAEA's financial and technical assistance" and that the relevant international agencies and Islamabad's bilateral supporters had been taken into confidence about the application of nuclear energy for civilian purposes. Mr. Parvez Butt also said the IAEA had allowed the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission to amply use nuclear energy for improving the performance of agriculture, industrial, health, education and environment sectors.

Butt was very close to then-Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shaukat Aziz. Parvez Butt maintained a close association with Prime Minister Aziz until Butt's term to be completed. Parvez Butt submitted a long-term nuclear power plant project to Prime Minister Aziz, who allowed PAEC to established more both civilian and military purpose nuclear power plants. Butt also assisted Prime Minister Aziz to launch work on the 325-megawatt plant in Chashma, which is the second to be built at the site with Chinese help.

On 28 December 2005, Prime Minister Aziz inaugurated Chasma nuclear power plant, where both Chinese and Pakistani nuclear scientists attended. In an inauguration, Aziz said "a milestone" in the history of nuclear technology in Pakistan.

Fame and legacy[edit]

He has been awarded Pakistan's highest civil awards Hilal-e-Imtiaz and Sitara-e-Imtiaz in 1999 from the President of Pakistan, Justice (r). Muhammad Rafiq Tarar. Pervez Butt has been an active member of the Board of Government of World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO), World Nuclear Association (WNA) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). He was elected the Vice Chair of the IAEA Board of Government in 2005. Butt retired from the PAEC in 2006.

Pervez Butt was a distinguished associate and team member of late Pakistani nuclear engineer Munir Ahmad Khan and also worked under Dr. I. H. Usmani and Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad. Like his mentors, he kept a lower profile. That is why he is also considered[by whom?] as the "Unsung Hero of Nuclear Pakistan".

On 4 July 2006, Parvez Butt retired from PAEC as a Chief Scientist. Dr. Anwar Ali, a known nuclear physicist and his fellow nuclear engineer, took over as Chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission in a simple ceremony held at PAEC headquarters. He was later transferred to Ministry of Science and Technology where he was elevated as the Science and Technology secretary. He is also serving as a member of Higher Education Commission.

Research paper[edit]

  • Status and Potential of Small and Medium Power Reactors in Pakistan by Parvez Butt and Muhammad Ahmad. (Paper presented at Advisory Group Meeting on Status and Introduction of Small and Medium Power Reactors in Developing Countries, Tunis, 3–6 September 1996).

Awards and honours[edit]



  1. ^ Unknown. "CV of Parvez Butt" (PDF). Retrieved 2010.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. ^ (PCP), Planning Commission of Pakistan; Jawaid Azfar. "Parvez Butt (PC Member of Energy)". Planning Commission. Computer Center of Planning Commission. Archived from the original on 4 May 2010. 
  3. ^ Ibid of CV Parvez Butt. "Eng. Parvez Butt" (PDF). Retrieved 2009.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  4. ^ (WNA), World Nuclear Association (2003). "Biography of Parvez Butt". WNA. World Nuclear Ass. Retrieved 2010.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  5. ^ Biographies. "Parvez Butt" (PDF). Conference on Security and Cooperation in South Asia: A Global Perspective. 
  6. ^ Saeed, Nadeem (April 28, 2006). "Villagers' fears of nuclear waste". BBC News. central Pakistan. Retrieved May 5, 2016. 
  7. ^ Our Staff Reporter (24 September 2004). "Pakistan believes in peaceful use of N-energy: PAEC". Dawn News. Islamabad.