LAHORE – Having served the nation for almost six decades, nuclear scientist Dr Ishfaq Ahmad has finally called it a day.

Dr Ishfaq, who played a leading role in achieving nuclear capability as chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission in May 1998, recently resigned as adviser to the Planning Commission of Pakistan. “It’s time for rest and recreation,” he remarked.

The career of the distinguished scientist spanned 60 years of government service, during which he held many important positions where vital decisions were made for the development and future of the country’s nuclear programme.

Dr Ishfaq was Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Strategic Programme from 2002-2008, with status of federal minister; Special Adviser to the Chief Executive of Pakistan from 2001 to 2002, with status of federal minister; Chairman, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), from 1991 to 2001; Senior Member, PAEC, from 1988 to 1991; Member, PAEC, from 1976 to 1988; Director and Chief Scientist, Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology, from 1971 to 1976; Director, Atomic Energy Centre (AEC), Lahore, from 1969 to 1971; and Head, Physics Division, AEC, Lahore, from 1962 to 1963.

Among his many accomplishments, Dr Ishfaq created the National Centre for Physics on the pattern of Abdus Slam International Center of Theoretical Physics. He also set up Pakistan’s only centre for science of climate change. He was also instrumental in the creation of Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority. Under his leadership, PAEC upgraded human development centre, culminating in establishment of a degree-awarding university. He played a key role in the establishment of Pakistan’s second nuclear power reactor at Chashma.

Born in Gurdaspur, British India, on November 3, 1930, Dr Ishfaq did his MSc from the Government College Lahore and was also awarded the roll of honour. He did his PhD from the University of Montreal, Canada. He did his postdoctoral research at the prestigious Niels Bohr Institute at Sorbonne.

Dr Ishfaq received several prestigious awards for his outstanding contribution in the field of science and technology, including Nishan-i-Imtiaz (1998); Hilal-i-Imtiaz (1995); Sitara-i-Imtiaz (1989); Gold Medal, Pakistan Academy of Sciences (1998); Gold Medal, Institute of Leadership Management (1998); Gold Medal, Society of Engineering, Materials and Metallurgy, Karachi (1998); Gold Medal, Geological Society of Punjab (1998); Doctorate of Science Honoris Causa, University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore (2000).

He was honoured with membership of various outstanding bodies, including Islamic World Academy of Sciences (2000); Lifetime Member of the Nuclear Society of Pakistan (1997); Honorary Fellow, International Academy of Nuclear Energy; Member: Syndicate, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad; Member, Syndicate, Government College University, Lahore; Member, Board of Governors, Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute, Topi; Chairman, Board of Governors, National Centre for Physics, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad (since 2003); Council Member, International Institute of Applied Sciences, Vienna (since 2007); Chairman, Planning Commission’s Task Force on Climate Change; Member, Board of Governors, International Atomic Energy Agency (1991-2007); Founder Member, Standing Advisory Group on Technical Assistance and Cooperation; and President, Pakistan Academy of Sciences (2007-2011).