Pakistan’s nuclear black market

In this episode of the Monsoon Podcast, Maxwell Lowe looks at the life and legacy of AQ Khan, the man behind the Pakistan’s nuclear black market.


In 2004, Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer (AQ) Khan appeared on state television and forcibly confessed to illegally supplying nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea for over three decades.

Famous for his role in developing Pakistan’s nuclear bomb, AQ Khan revealed himself to be the largest black market exporter of nuclear technology in history. Today Khan’s legacy can be seen through the world’s most volatile nuclear hot spots which threaten the lives of millions every day.

In Pakistan, Khan is still seen as a national hero. Yet despite the scale and reckless consequences of his actions, he has largely been forgotten outside his home state.

How did AQ Khan transform himself into the world’s most powerful nuclear smuggler and why was he able to continue for so long? Maxwell Lowe looks at Pakistan’s nuclear bomb and the life and legacy of AQ Khan.

**Hassan Abbas** is a professor of International Security at the National Defence University in Washington D.C and senior adviser at the Asia Society. Previously, he was the distinguished Quaid-i-Azam Chair Professor at Columbia University and fellow at Harvard University. Before his academic career, he worked in the governments of Benazir Bhutto and Pervez Musharraf. His latest book Pakistan’s Nuclear Bomb: a Story of Defiance, Deterrence and Deviance chronicles the story of AQ Khan and nuclear developments in South Asia.

Feature image source: rabedirkwennigsen on Pixabay

Music: Man Down and Master Disorder by Kevin McLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

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