Dr. Samar Mubarakmand, who was born on September 17, 1942, is a nuclear physicist, who served as the founding chairman of National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM) from 2001 until 2007. Dr. Samar Mubarak launched the Missile Integration Programme in 1987 which was successfully completed in 2005. A pioneer of Fluid and Aerodynamics in Pakistan, Mubarakmand earned renowned internationally in May 1998, when he headed the team of academic scientists which carried out the country's first and successful nuclear tests — Codename Chagai-I on May 28 and Codename Chagai-II on May 30 in Balochistan Province of Pakistan.
Dr. Samar Mubarak completed his elementary and intermediate education from Lahore. He matriculated from St. Anthony's High School in 1956. He received his BSc in Physics in 1958 and his MSc in nuclear physics in 1962 (in which he wrote his MSc thesis on "Construction of a Gamma-Ray Spectrometer"), both from Government College University, Lahore.
In 1962 he won a doctoral scholarship and commenced studies at Oxford University. He studied Compton scattering and the dynamical theory of Gamma spectroscopy with Shaukat Hameed Khan. He received his PhD in Nuclear Physics from the University of Oxford in 1966 under the renowned nuclear physicist D. H. Wilkinson. There, Samar Mubarak studied with Shaukat Hameed Khan at the Physics Department, learning about the Linear accelerators, and after returning to Pakistan he built one. In Oxford, he was part of the team that commissioned a 22 million volt atomic accelerator.
After his doctorate, Mubarakmand returned to Pakistan where he joined Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) in 1966. The following year, he was sent to Pakistan Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology (PINSTECH) where he did his post-doctoral research under Naeem Ahmad Khan. In January 1972, Mubarakmand was assigned to Ishfaq Ahmad’s Nuclear Physics Division where he took charge to carry out the calculations in implosion method, and mathematical multiplication involved in nuclear fission. In 1974, on the advise of Abdus Salam, Ishfaq Ahmad formed the Fast Neutron Physics Group, making Mubarakmand its head. Mubarakmand was tasked to began to calculated the neutron energy’s distributive ranges determining the numbers would produced during the fission process and Neutron economy how much power would be produced by the neutrons.
In September 1973, Mubarakmand then began the work on simultaneity, key calculations involving to investigate detonation of the weapon from several points at the same time. However, the work was passed on to the Mathematical Physics Group (MPG) under Asghar Qadir, and the Theoretical Physics Group (TPG) under Abdus Salam as it felt that the calculations would be better off with MPG and TPG under Salam, as it involved complex mathematical and physics applications of Einstein’s Special and General relativity. Mubarakmand charged with the test teams, and was made responsible for the countdown for the detonation of the weapon. As scientist, Mubarakmand's team was tasked with the carrying the measurement and collecting scientific experimented data from the nuclear detonation.
In 1978, both TPG and MPG completed the work on the Fast neutron calculations, and the designing of the first implosion fission weapon. In 1978, Mubarakmand led the construction of a nuclear and particle linear accelerator, and the neutron generator at the secret Pinstech Laboratory. On March 11 of 1983, Mubarakmand was one of the few scientists that were invited to eye-witnessed the cold test of theoretically designed weapon, codename Kirana-I. Mubarakmand was the part of Ishfaq Ahmad's Nuclear Physics Division, and led the countdown of the weapon while TPG and MPG calculated the yield. In 1980s, Mubarakmand was transferred to the Directorate for Technical Development (DTD), a secret directorate to develop explosive lenses and triggering mechanism for the fission weapon.
There, along with Hafeez Qureshi, Mubarakmand provided the technical assistance to the engineers there. At Pinstech Laboratory, Mubarakmand built another nuclear accelerator to conduct studies of an explosion process in a fission weapon. For his own role in the project and DTD, Mubarakmand later concluded: Engineer people (referring to Dr. Hafeez Qureshi and Dr. Zaman Sheikh), at DTD, were really smart. They were trained very thoroughly in the development of a weapon's necessary materials at very low cost. Mubarakmand first visited in Chagai Hills in 1981, along with Ishfaq Ahmad and other scientists from different divisions. In 1998, in the absence of Ishfaq Ahmad, Mubarakmand had briefly directed then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as he was first responsible for the preparations of tests.
However, after Ishfaq Ahmad arrived, Mubarakmand was made responsible for the preparations of the tests. In May 28, 1998, Mubarakmand led the countdown of tests, codename Chagai-I, in Ras Koh Hills of Chagai region. On May 30, Ishfaq Ahmad received permission from the Prime minister, and Mubarakmand led a very small team of academic scientists that supervised the country's plutonium fission weapon, codename Chagai-II. In the 1990s, he served as the Director General of National Defence Complex, another Pakistani organization shrouded in secrecy.
After his active role in Pakistan's nuclear weapons research programme, Mubarakmand has been associated with the country's space program where he largely contributed his research in computational fluid dynamics, aerodynamics, and fluid physics. Into Pakistan's scientific circle, he is known as father of Pakistan's missile program where he has reportedly been present at the flight test facilities of Pakistan. In 1987, Ministry of Defence initiated the Integrated Missile Research and Development Programme, an equivalent program to India's Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP). The MoD initiated the program under the leadership of Dr. Samar Mubarakmand and Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan.
In 1995, Mubarakmand became chief project coordinator of Shaheen Strategic Missile Guidance System, and the following year, Mubarakmand was made head of the Integrated Missile Research and Development Programme (IMRDP), . The program, in which, Pakistan's developed its liquid and solid booster based missiles for her nuclear war heads. As the head of the Missile Integration Program, Mubarakmand's team successfully developed the solid booters and solid engine for Shaheen-I. This was later followed by developing the Shaheen-II and Shaheen-III missiles. As of today, Mubarakmand is considered the main architect of Pakistan's missile program, which includes systems such as the Babur missile,Shaheen missile series, and the Ghaznavi missile system.
Mubarakmand, who has been a chief architect of Pakistan's solid booster, he has been a strong advocate for a Pakistan's space program. As a "Science and Technology" member at the Planning Commission of Pakistan, he has been staunch supporter of rocket science in his country where he led the Shaheen Missile guidance system project. Talking to the media on August 18, 2009, Mubarakmand has Pakistan would launch its own satellite in April 2011 it made some things seem all too obvious to analyst familiar with the subject.
He described the satellite as being able to monitor agricultural programs, minerals programs and weather conditions and that it was funded by the Pakistani Planning Commission. He went on to say there were sufficient funds for the defense, nuclear and space programs. Whether this will be a less than 100 kg first test satellite or a much heavier satellite remains to be seen.
Dr. Mubarakmand is currently supervising coal mining practiced on scientific lines for the Thar Coal Power Project.
Dr. Samar Mubarakmand is widely credited with bringing modernization in the design and development of many components and instruments that are the backbone of Pakistan's nuclear and missile technology. Mubarakmand is a recipient of Pakistan's three highest civilian awards; Sitara-e-Imtiaz (1993), Hilal-e-Imtiaz (1998) and Nishan-e-Imtiaz (2003). In 2000, he was elected Fellow of Pakistan Academy of Sciences. He has always kept a low profile and is often referred to as the "Unsung Hero" of Nuclear Pakistan. Despite keeping away from the public spotlight, Samar Mubarakmand is considered the most influential and eminent Pakistani Nuclear Scientist.
Dr. Samar Mubarakmand served as Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Science & Technology from December 2007 to April 2008, and joined Planning Commission (Pakistan), Government of Pakistan as Member (Science & Technology) on 16-12-2008.
Dr. Samar Mubarakmand's response on the day when Pakistan completed its nuclear task of explosion on May 28, 1998 was;
My eyes were set on the mountain in which the test was to be conducted. I experienced a halt in my heartbeat on seeing nothing happening after 32 seconds. But all of a sudden it was a big jolt! We had triumphed.
Wherever you go and whatever ends you pursue, you must always fulfill the trust reposed in you by your nation, your parents and your alma mater.