How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb

Published: May 28, 2011

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On May 28th, Pakistan will once again celebrate the annual Bomb Day, marking the 13th anniversary of the moment when the mountains of Chaghi turned bleached white with terror and the earth shook as a million degrees centigrade burned the innards of our land. Shrill sounds of Allah O Akbar accompanied the spectacular display that rent asunder the womb of the earth. We gave that day the strange name of Yaum-e-Takbeer as though it had divine blessings and some holy connotation.

Seventeen days earlier, India had demonstrated its nuclear potency with Atal Bihari Vajpayee announcing gleefully that the enemy may not look us in the face as ‘we have a big bomb now’. Our two-thirds majority prime minister was not to be left behind so he replied with matched arrogance that mashallah, our nation, too, has a big bum for all to see. We exploded one extra bum lest the enemy think we are far behind.

We were supposed to go to sleep that night with the comforting reassurance that there is a national bum to protect us and if the enemy hurls one of its atomic contraptions at us, we could throw one right back, tit for tat. Even though we had vowed to eat grass to enter the hall of fame of bum-wielding countries, we didn’t mind because other foodstuffs are too expensive anyway. Hungry but secure, we reposed our trust in the mushroom cloud of national security hanging protectively over us.

Alas, it turned out to be a false sense of security. We found out, to our dismay and chagrin, that while our holy bum lies in various bits and pieces all over our land, waiting for India to irritate the hell out of us, the real enemy was all the time hiding deep within our own bellies. Thousands of militant lashkars of various hues and shades were incubating inside our body through the scientific process of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) by the CIA and ISI. This monster received its nourishment from our own security apparatus and was now ready to hatch. Our precious bum, acquired at the expense of international sanctions and abject poverty, was useless against the scores of zealots spreading mayhem and spilling innocent blood across the country.

It’s funny how reality mimics science fiction. I saw a movie on cable television in which an alien, residing and growing inside a human body, tears apart the belly and, in the process of being born, kills its host. The plethora of lashkars and militants, fed by our own national body, emerged and began to kill the host country! These aliens that emerged from our national belly slowly ate at our vitals and bled us until we became anemic. Hailing from an assortment of alien lands (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Chechnya, Africa, Europe, you name it) they set about destroying their host with a vengeance, thus blowing our false sense of security to smithereens!

Science fiction movies are really telling. When you create a monster, you can bet it will come back to bite you. In Jurassic Park the Americans created a t-rex which, in a sequel, made its way across the oceans to San Diego to feed upon a healthy protein diet of Americans! In reality, the Americans and Pakistanis together created OBL (a mutated t-rex) that managed to reach New York and brought down the twin towers, the very symbols of capitalist America. OBL must have seen Jurassic Park for none other than the brilliant Steven Spielberg and the exciting Michael Crichton could have imagined such fantastic scenarios.

OBL and other aliens sprouting from his sides began to swallow their own Fathers. They managed to reach the GHQ itself despite the thousands of barbed wires and armed men on duty. They attacked buses carrying ISI personnel, bombed a PAF mess, destroyed vehicles carrying naval officers and brought down FIA buildings and a naval college in Lahore! Now, our security apparatus is in dire need of protection. The Chaghi bum is not going to do the trick.

How about bloody civilians? Looked down upon by army officers as an inferior species that lacks intelligence and needs protection, maybe the bloody civilians can be entrusted with the task of protecting us all, including our defence and intelligence personnel. Ironic as it may seem, how about giving them the task now that others have failed. Not a bad idea.

Bloody civilians can perhaps bring us out of the morass in which we find ourselves, with the whole world shining an angry spotlight on us, and accusing us of nurturing and harbouring monsters in our backyard. The defence, foreign and security policies can now be given to them so that they can start the process of cleansing our land of aliens hiding in the furrows and crevices of our scarred land. Maybe civilians can also mollify and pacify our angry international interlocutors and save our generals and officers from humiliation. The ghosts of Kargil are rising and reminding us that ultimately civilians haste across oceans to save us from our own monsters and monstrous follies.

The security apparatus in both the US and Pakistan needs to learn that spawning monsters to fight an ‘enemy’ can backfire; what goes around, comes around. They need to overcome the Frankenstein syndrome because one’s breed can get out of control and turn upon the breeder. This is a lesson worth learning for those who still think the ‘good Taliban’ can be raised to eliminate the ‘bad Taliban’. Those still afflicted with this learning disability may need to rethink their strategies.

In the meantime, let sleeping bombs lie. Let Bomb Day pass without reiterating our ‘glorious’ achievement. As our scientists tell us, given the materials and money, the bomb can be made by a technician for it requires no advanced scientific knowledge. Bombs do not protect a country, people do. Let’s seek our protection through peace with neighbours instead of competing for bigger and better bombs.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (23)

  • XX
    May 28, 2011 - 12:47AM

    “As our scientists tell us, given the materials and money, the bomb can be made by a technicians for it requires no advanced scientific knowledge”

    Which scientists exactly have said that? Their standard of what qualifies as ‘advanced scientific knowledge’ seems to be a notch above the rest of the world’s scientists’. Recommend

  • faraz
    May 28, 2011 - 1:32AM

    The mediocre minds sitting in the defense establishment didn’t realize that by testing atomic bomb, India managed to freeze the status quo over Kashmir. We drew the wrong conclusions; we got over excited by our overt nuclear capability and launched the disastrous Kargil operation. Kargil proved to the world that Pakistan is an irresponsible nuclear state.Recommend

  • Venky
    May 28, 2011 - 4:04AM

    Pakistan succumbed to India’s intentional rhetoric so that it does not stand alone in sanctions.Remember successive American Presidents made Pressler Amendment ineffective even though though they knew Pakistan has a bum.Recommend

  • Golden horde
    May 28, 2011 - 6:03AM

    Pakistan had been under sanctions when india exploded the bomb. And that allowed us to explode ours. And then the sanctions went away. And also even india wants to and tries a lot, india cant attack now as it will get blown to hell. So thanks for allowing us to explode the bomb. That was the single biggest mistake india ever made :)Recommend

  • Maria
    May 28, 2011 - 10:30AM

    India’s sabre rattling and nuclear arms development forced Pakistan to develop an effective deterrent. No one should ever forget why Pakistan developed nuclear weapons: India started the nuclear arms race in South Asia and tried to brow beat Pakistan. Recommend

  • vasan
    May 28, 2011 - 11:11AM

    So the entire Pakistan is full of “bum” lovers. Recommend

  • Cherish Raj
    May 28, 2011 - 11:25AM

    @Golden horde:
    India has never attacked Pakistan in the first place. The blow off effect is mutual FYI. I do not think that you have forgotten that we too have the ‘bomb’. All our strategic calculations are not based on our western neighbor. Recommend

  • sarim
    May 28, 2011 - 11:37AM

    The USSR had more than 28000 nuclear warheads but it collapsed without any attack. one of the reasons contributing to its demise was its over-spending on arms. If you put more money into non-productive sector, you will not be able to provide health, education and other facilities to your people. In the USSR when people had to stand in a queue to get eggs and bread, the superpower perished from the map of the world. Some US policy makers admitted that they had trapped Moscow in an armed race so that its economy could collapse and this is what exactly happened.
    The way Pakistan and India have been spending on weapons, they will dismember without any attack. In Pakistan more than 50 million people are living below the standard line of poverty while in India more than 400 million are living in abject poverty. The war-mongers across the borders are amassing weapons instead of building schools, hospitals, roads and houses. Pakistan and India are among the 12 top buyers of weapons while they stand 134th and 135th among the states that spend less on their citizens.

    Peace-loving people across the borders should make efforts to defeat these war-mongers–Hafiz Saeed, Baal Thakaray, Qazi Hussain, L K Advani and their like. Recommend

  • A J khan
    May 28, 2011 - 12:23PM

    The article may have adequate preamble, but hopeless recommendations. The author appears to be writing for some sponsors that is why the substance appears to be half cooked.
    i just wasted my time reading it.Recommend

  • Blondie
    May 28, 2011 - 12:33PM

    @ Author. The earth’s womb as rent asunder first time at 5:35 eastern time … July 1945 once our American friends tested a bomb. They euphemistically called the test “Trinity”. One wonders that was it a Christian Bomb?
    They tested nukes on the Asians twice in August 1945 – a day that will live in infamy.
    Thereon the U.S. and other nuclear weapon states tested thousands of bombs – few in Asia and in Pakistan complained!
    Yet you dramatize Pakistan’s testing as something close to a rape.
    Pakistan couldn’t restrain once Indian’s carried out a so-called Peaceful Nuclear Explosion in 1974 and called it Smiling Budha. The Budha smiled again in May 1998 and Pakistan had to follow suit on May 28. So it was a divine blessing indeed – as Indian would have made Pakistan a tug boat. Pakistan had mastered a feat that is the domain of the most industrially advanced.
    I wish it can make such a divine work in other fields like economy, industry, fair politics and rid itself of stoic and self-critical-West playing-grey haired people.
    Please don’t disillusion us. We the young can offer you a safe retired life in the West but please get off our backs and let us build this lovely nation.
    Some of sleep well with “bums up” because you will take the first flight out Pakistan if we have to square off with India. We sleep well because we know that we can deter them with our “bombs” and our will to strengthen Pakistan not with bombs only – but with hard work and patience that you lack.


  • ImnIndian
    May 28, 2011 - 12:37PM

    @Golden horde – y would v attack pak, specially u guys r busy bombing each other. Recommend

  • Adeel Ahmed
    May 28, 2011 - 2:07PM

    Who needs enemies, when we have “friends” and supporters like this writer here, who has done nothing but completely belittle the efforts of our army, navy, air force, ISI etc.
    If our BUM wasn’t such a potent defence, why may I ask, is the CIA/Mossad/Raw trying their level best to take it away from us?
    Mossad/Israel along with Raw/India even tried to attack our nuclear installations when Pakistan was alerted by a friendly country and our air force was air borne within minutes… fact, can be verified by anyone.
    Why is it that a vilified campaign is running in the Indian/American/British media on the false pretext of “Pakistan’s nuclear assets are not safe and can go in the ‘wrong hands’ ” The only wrong hands our nuclear arsenal can fall into are the American/Indian hands…

    We are very proud of our nuclear capability and we as “people” of the country should prove our sincerity to our nation rather than play in to the enemy propaganda.

    Yes… ISI and CIA made the Taliban… but have we ever thought about the alternative?
    Had we not sided by CIA/America and let Russia trample all over Afghanistan, do you honestly believe we would have been left alone to survive? With the Russian/Indian alliance, and the way Russia was going… we did what needed to be done to safeguard our interest at that time.
    What was the alternative?Recommend

  • May 28, 2011 - 2:32PM

    Great style! Great mood!Recommend

  • Malay
    May 28, 2011 - 2:58PM

    Very sensible.Recommend

  • meekal ahmed
    May 28, 2011 - 3:57PM

    Looking at the comments above, at least some of them, I find it amazing that many still ‘don’t get it’. Recommend

  • Abdur Rehman
    May 28, 2011 - 4:51PM

    There were three days in Pakistan’s history I wish had never happened

    16 Dec 1971
    4 April 1979
    28 May 1998

  • AK
    May 28, 2011 - 10:07PM

    Well written analysis.Recommend

  • Tanveer
    May 28, 2011 - 10:25PM

    @Abdur Rehman:
    Very low IQ level thinking….Recommend

  • Ihk
    May 28, 2011 - 10:31PM

    Is still think if we hadn’t publicly announced to have developed a nuclear weapon; rather throw hints all about, would have put everyone on the edge of their seats for a bit…fun.Recommend

  • May 28, 2011 - 10:36PM

    @Abdur Rehman:

    How did a pessimist like you missed the most important date that is 14 August, 1947 ?

    I wish you go and see the conditions of Indian Muslims and Biharis living in BD Camps before making fun of your motherland.

    Atom Bomb is what that is keeping Indians at bay.Recommend

  • imho
    May 29, 2011 - 4:30AM

    No, it didn’t. It was AQ Khan’s sharing his knowledge and equipment with North Korea, Iran, Syria, Libya, very possibly with the knowledge of the government. Pakistan still hasn’t come to grips with that. Its assertion that the subject is closed doesn’t actually close it.
    imho, David SalmonRecommend

  • Abdur Rehman
    May 29, 2011 - 2:32PM

    @ khalid

    dude, seriously as if Muslims in our Islamic Republic are living too happily (don’t you remember that only 10 months ago we 20 million displaced people living in camps because of floods and terrorists) and yet you worry about Indian Muslims ( who are willingly living in India and are patriotic Indians)Recommend

    May 29, 2011 - 10:46PM

    If Pakistan had also focused on its economy like India than making 100 bombs, it would have served its people than these useless toys which have not benefitted any nation so far. Recommend

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