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Khushab (Urdu: خوشاب) is a of Khushab District in the Punjab province of Pakistan. The city serves as the the headquarters of Khushab Tehsil an administrative subdivision of the district.

The city of Khushab is home to the Heavy Water and Natural Uranium Research Reactor, a critical part of the Pakistan's Special Weapons Program, which has come under much heated scrutiny.


During colonial rule Khushab town was the headquarters of the tehsil of the same name in the Shahpur District of British Punjab. The town situated on the right bank of the Jhelum River was on the route of the Sindh-Sagar branch of the North-Western Railway.

During that time it had an extensive trade, exporting cotton, wool, and ghi to Multan and Sukkur; cotton cloth to Afghanistan and the Derajat; and wheat grown in the Salt Range, which was considered particularly suitable for export, principally to Karachi. The municipality was created in 1867. The income during the ten years ending 1902-3 averaged Rs. 12,100, and the expenditure Rs. 11,000. In 1903-4 the income was Rs. 11,500, chiefly from octroi ; and the expenditure was Rs. 11,000. The town had an Anglo-vernacular middle school, maintained by the municipality, and a Government dispensary.

The population according to the 1901 census was 11,403.


Khushab is located at 32°17'48N 72°21'9E and is situated between Sargodha and Mianwali, near the river Jhelum.

Controversies and debates

On March 21, 2000, the Christian Science Monitor published an article written by Alexander Colhoun, a high-resolution aerial satellite photo revealed a nuclear reactor and a missile base in the city of Khushab. These pictures had mixed views, one of the expression of power that could shackle or reshape diplomatic landscapes of a region and another of the ethical question about the usage of satellite imagery in terms of privacy and national sovereignty of a nuclear-capable nation. The report was published at a time when American President Bill Clinton was due to visit India and sparked concerns worldwide. It was later clearly stated in the Dawn newspaper on June 14, 2000 that this particular nuclear reactor at Khushab and its reprocessing plant were generating between 8 to 10 kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium per year, dedicated for military use.


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