Obituary: Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad (N.I., H.I., S.I.), former Chairman Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) passed away in Islamabad on the night of Thursday, the 18 January, 2018, at the age of 87. Apart from his family members and relatives in Pakistan and USA, he also left behind thousands of Pakistani scientists and engineers as members of his extended family of PAEC colleagues.

They are all grieving for the loss of the family head, who was loved and respected due to his sterling qualities of mind and spirit. Millions of those who knew him through his contributions for Pakistan will also be mourning and praying for the departed soul.

Dr. Ishfaq dominated the scientific scene of Pakistan for over half-a-century. Starting his academic career as Lecturer in Government College, Lahore, in 1949, he switched over to PAEC in 1960 at the behest of Prof. Dr. Abdus Salam and Dr. I. H. Usmani on his return to Pakistan after completing Ph. D. studies at University of Montreal, Canada.

He went on to occupy various high level administrative positions in PAEC, including the Directorship of prestigious research centre, Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH) at Nilore, Rawalpindi. It was here in PINSTECH and later in his position as Member (Technical), PAEC, that he got involved with classified projects related to Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence.

Taking over as Chairman PAEC in 1991 at the ripe age of 60 years, he mesmerized younger colleagues with his vigour and stamina in pursuit of PAEC projects of huge national importance. It was thus his singular honour to oversee the overt display of Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence in 1998 as Chairman PAEC. When he left PAEC in 2001, he had contributed much more than his due share for PAEC and for progress of Science in Pakistan, in general. He could have opted for a relaxed retirement after strenuous work spanning four decades.

Instead he chose to serve the nation in yet another capacity as Advisor to the Prime Minister of Pakistan and later as Senior Member of Planning Commission of Pakistan.

During a 12 years period in these positions he steered the development of Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS), Global Climate Chang Impact Study Centre (GCISC) and National Centre for Physics (NCP).

In NCP he remained as the Chairman Board of Governors until he breathed his last. His long lists of honours and awards will no doubt be mentioned in his obituaries but his unmatched services to nation are too great to be sufficiently applauded. May Allah give him unlimited eternal rewards in his last abode in Jannat-al-Firdous.


Dr. I. E. Qureshi

Ex- Chief Scientist PAEC


Tel.: 03435076209