Anniversary: What if Pakistan did not have the bomb?

Published: May 28, 2011
Could the Bomb really have saved Pakistan in 1971? Can it do so now? PHOTO: FILE

Could the Bomb really have saved Pakistan in 1971? Can it do so now? PHOTO: FILE

Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan has spent the last few years confined by the Pakistan Army to one of his palatial Islamabad residences where he whiles away his days writing weekly columns in newspapers. This venerable metallurgist, who claims paternity rights over Pakistan’s bomb, says it alone saves Pakistan. In a recent article, he wistfully wrote: “If we had had nuclear capability before 1971, we would not have lost half of our country – present-day Bangladesh – after disgraceful defeat.”

Given that 30,000 nuclear weapons failed to save the Soviet Union from decay, defeat and collapse, could the Bomb really have saved Pakistan in 1971? Can it do so now?

Let’s revisit 1971. Those of us who grew up in those times know in our hearts that East and West Pakistan were one country but never one nation. Young people today cannot imagine the rampant anti-Bengali racism among West Pakistanis then. With great shame, I must admit that as a thoughtless young boy I too felt embarrassed about small and dark people being among our compatriots. Victims of a delusion, we thought that good Muslims and Pakistanis were tall, fair, and spoke chaste Urdu. Some schoolmates would laugh at the strange sounding Bengali news broadcasts from Radio Pakistan.

The Bengali people suffered under West Pakistani rule. They believed their historical destiny was to be a Bengali-speaking nation, not the Urdu-speaking East Pakistan which Jinnah wanted. The East was rightfully bitter on other grounds too. It had 54% of Pakistan’s population and was the biggest earner of foreign exchange. But West Pakistani generals, bureaucrats, and politicians such as Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, feared a democratic system would transfer power and national resources to the East.

Denied democracy and justice, the people of East Pakistan helplessly watched the cash flow from East to fund government, industry, schools and dams in the West. When the Bhola cyclone killed half a million people in 1970, President Yahya Khan and his fellow generals in Rawalpindi’s GHQ could not have cared less.

The decisive break came with the elections. The Awami League won a majority in Pakistan’s parliament. Bhutto and the generals would not accept the peoples’ verdict. The Bengalis finally rose up for independence. When the West Pakistan army was sent in, massacre followed massacre. Political activists, intellectuals, trade unionists, and students were slaughtered. Blood ran in street gutters, and millions fled across the border. After India intervened to support the East, the army surrendered. Bangladesh was born.

That Pakistan did not have the bomb in 1971 must surely be among the greatest of blessings. It is hard for me to see what Dr AQ Khan has in mind when he suggests that it could have saved Pakistan.

Would the good doctor have dropped the bomb on the raging pro-independence mobs in Dhaka? Or used it to incinerate Calcutta and Delhi, and have the favour duly returned to Lahore and Karachi? Or should we have threatened India with nuclear attack to keep it out of the war so that we could endlessly kill East Pakistanis? Even without the bomb, estimated civilian deaths numbered in the hundreds of thousands if not a million. How many more East Pakistanis would he have liked to see killed for keeping Pakistan together?

Some might argue that regardless of the death and destruction, using the bomb to keep Pakistan together would have been a good thing for the people of East Pakistan in the long term. A look at developmental statistics can help decide.

Bangladesh is ranked 96th out of 110 countries in a 2010 prosperity index compiled by an independent London-based think-tank, the Legatum Institute, using governance, education, health, security, personal freedom, and social capital as criteria. Pakistan is at the 109th position, just one notch above Zimbabwe. By this measure the people of the East have benefited from independence. The UN Human Development Index puts Bangladesh at 146/182 and Pakistan at 141/182, making Pakistan only marginally superior. This implies that Bengalis would have gained little, if anything, by remaining with West Pakistan.

But numerical data does not tell the whole story. Bangladesh is poorer but more hopeful and happier. Culture is thriving, education is improving, and efforts to control population growth are more fruitful than in Pakistan. It is not ravaged by suicide bombings, or by daily attacks upon its state institutions and military forces.

What can the bomb do for Pakistan now? Without it, will India swallow up Pakistan and undo partition? Such thought is pure fantasy. First, India has a rapidly growing economy and is struggling to control its population of 1.2 billion, of which almost half are desperately poor. It has no reason to want an additional 180 million people to feed and educate. Second, even if an aggressive and expansionist India wanted, asymmetrical warfare would make territorial conquest and occupation impossible. The difficulties faced by America in Iraq and Afghanistan, or of India in Kashmir, make this clear.

The bomb did deter India from launching punitive attacks at least thrice since the 1998 tests. There were angry demands within India for attacking the camps of Pakistan-based militant groups after Pakistan’s incursion in Kargil during 1999, the December 13 attack on the Indian parliament the same year (initially claimed by Jaish-e-Muhammad), and the Mumbai attack in 2008 by Lashkar-e-Taiba. However, this problem only exists because the bomb has been used to protect these militant groups. The nuclear umbrella explains why Pakistan is such a powerful magnet for all on this planet who wage war in the name of Islam: Arabs, Chechens, Uzbeks, Uighurs, and various westerners. It was, as we now know, the last lair of Osama bin Laden as well.

Pakistan is learning the same painful lesson as the Soviet Union and white-South Africa learned. The bomb offers no protection to a people. Rather, it has helped bring Pakistan to its current grievously troubled situation and offers no way out.

On this May 28, the day when Pakistan tested its nuclear weapons, let us resolve to eliminate this curse rather than celebrate. Instead of building more bombs, we need to protect ourselves by building a sustainable and active democracy, an economy for peace rather than war, a federation in which provincial grievances can be effectively resolved, elimination of the feudal order and creating a tolerant society that respects the rule of law.

The author is a professor of nuclear physics and teaches in Islamabad and Lahore

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

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Reader Comments (128)

  • Muhammad Ahmed Hashmi
    May 28, 2011 - 8:54AM

    As far as the argument goes for whether it was good that Pakistan did not have nuclear bomb in 1971, I think the author is right. But putting all the onus on the bomb for the hardships of the people of Pakistan is not right. The bomb made Pakistan’s defense invincible. In fact, the bomb was vital for the balance of power in the sub-continent. In the absence of it, India would have been ‘don’ of the region. Author seems to be very intent on voicing and confirming the allegations of India that militant groups from Pakistan are interfering in India. There is no proof of that. And while author is very certain on such involvement, doesn’t he see the Indian agencies interference in Balochistan and other parts of Pakistan? Pakistan is the worst victim of the external political influence and corruption of its politicians, armed forces, judiciary, everyone. True that the bomb will not protect the people of Pakistan from their distress or economic problems. For that, everyone is to be blamed and everyone is to be changed.Recommend

  • faraz
    May 28, 2011 - 9:00AM

    After the testing atomic bomb, the state didnt stop buying expensive conventional weapons. The only positive coming out of 28 May would been a reduction in defence expenditure, but it never happened. Recommend

  • A
    May 28, 2011 - 9:18AM

    Thank you sir. My view exactly. I would surrender our nuclear weapons if I were in power.Recommend

  • sumeet
    May 28, 2011 - 9:26AM

    as usual another brilliant article are one of the few sane voice than exists in land of the pure.Recommend

  • May 28, 2011 - 9:42AM

    One aspect about the 1971 period which some how does not get the required attention is the fact that 3 million refugees(there are conflicting reports on the figures) had come into India . Providing shelter and feeding such a large no of refugees was something that India could ill afford . India wanted these refugees to go back at the earliest and this was one of the factors that influenced the actions of GOI at that time.


  • N Lodi
    May 28, 2011 - 9:46AM

    Great article Recommend

  • jagjit sidhoo
    May 28, 2011 - 9:51AM

    “With great shame, I must admit that as a thoughtless young boy I too felt embarrassed about small and dark people being among our compatriots. Victims of a delusion, we thought that good Muslims and Pakistanis were tall, fair, and spoke chaste Urdu. Some schoolmates would laugh at the strange sounding Bengali news broadcasts from Radio Pakistan.”It takes great character to make such an admission my respect for DrPervez Hoodbhoy has only grown Recommend

  • sujatha rangaswami
    May 28, 2011 - 9:57AM

    amazing – both in analysis and writing style . thank you . i hope to see many more subcontinental writers thinkers civilians engage openly as the author has done . all the countries suffer from jingoistic writing which does not help people grapple with discuss and pool resources for the issues that matter to most of the people in the subcontinent – that of poverty health education jobs legal rights & dignity. Recommend

  • akash
    May 28, 2011 - 10:04AM

    Genuinely wish that you and people like you should be leading pakistan Recommend

  • afsa
    May 28, 2011 - 10:08AM

    “eliminate this curse”? you must be joking!!!Recommend

  • Mayu
    May 28, 2011 - 10:09AM

    Well Said !!!Recommend

  • Maria
    May 28, 2011 - 10:17AM

    You seem to forget that India started the nuclear arms race in South Asia. How can you possibly expect Pakistan to disarm when India has repeatedly threatened Pakistan. As for Pakistan’s testing of Nuclear weapons, it only happened after India’s Pokhram nuclear tests and sabre rattling against Pakistan. As for your assertion that Pakistan has become a magnet for militants ranging from Arabs to Uzbeks to Chechens, why not blame the West which used Pakistan as a front line state to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan. After the Soviets were ousted and the Cold War ended by the expenditure of priceless Pakistan blood, the West abandoned Pakistan. We were left to clean up all these criminals and militants who were allowed to run amok. Pakistan needs to maintain its nuclear deterrent since in times of need, no one will come to Pakistan’s aid. We need to explain the reality of our interfering neighbours from India and Afghanistan to the West the next time they ask Pakistan to “do more”.Recommend

  • May 28, 2011 - 10:19AM

    I understand where Pervez Hoodboy is coming from but analysts like him conveniently ignore the threatening tone of BJP-led Indian Government and Indian media just after India’s nuclear explosions.
    Of course we should stop making more bombs, cut the size of our army and all that in order to be able to invest more in education and development but IMHO we have to keep nuclear weapons as well as nuclear power acts as a deterrent. Just my 2 cents :)Recommend

  • shaanu
    May 28, 2011 - 10:27AM

    well said Mr author,
    but the problem is perception Recommend

  • Imran Khalid
    May 28, 2011 - 10:32AM

    Dr Hoodbhoy makes a very good point. There will be posters who will denounce him for suggesting that we do away with the nukes or criticizing Dr AQ Khan. However, it is exactly such debate which is essential for a democracy to become sustainable in the long run. We need to be able to question the status quo without being concerned about the blowback. You can disagree with Dr Hoodbhoy’s argument but do so without being personal.

    As far as Pakistan’s nuclear status is concerned, the cats out of the box and can’t be/ won’t be put back unless other actors do so as well. Unfortunately, we will have to live with the hazards and risks of being a nuclear weapon state in a nuclear weapon neighborhood. However, what can be done is to maintain minimal deterrence with minimal expenditure so that Pakistan can focus on human and social needs and security. We have always been concerned about physical security of the country but have forgotten that the cornerstone of a nation’s strength are its people. Let us focus on education which only gets 2% of the budget, if that. Let us focus on health and environmental concerns such as clean drinking water and sanitation. A healthy and an educated nation is a strong nation. An educated population fosters economic growth and brings stability. Our present security needs are essential, however we must ensure that they don’t hold hostage the future of our children. Put Pakistani people first, and we’ll find that, in due time, the security aspect will take care of itself!

  • Freedom of heresy
    May 28, 2011 - 10:38AM

    One thing is certain there are no nuclear ‘ASSETS’. There are only nuclear ‘LIABILITIES’.Recommend

  • Imran Khan
    May 28, 2011 - 10:39AM

    Being a nuclear power and being a successful economic and social power are two different things… while there are hundreds of reasons to say that the creation of Bangladesh has nothing to do with Nuclear capabilities.. the point is that Nuclear weopons are more a deterence than anything to be used as a weopon in war… the writer simply forgets the fact that the famous so called elite nuclear club has all the super powers names in it.. its not the bomb that is to blame for the ills that we find ourselves into, but the leadership who always creates war hysteria to get/manipulate popular votes.. we are a nuclear nation and that is over.. no one in the world is stopping us to do economic, social and educatonal progress.. these things forge unity, peace and harmony among the people, thus creating a nation from a bunch of people.. so what we need in addition to defence from agressors is economic development of the people.. we failed to do so in 1971 and we disintegrated.. we are still doing the same, our country is destined to fail if our leadership fails us every now and then.Recommend

  • Imran Khan
    May 28, 2011 - 10:43AM

    @jagjit sidhoo:
    if we go by your logic than there are many refugees in Pakistan occupied Kashmir also….Recommend

  • gen
    May 28, 2011 - 10:45AM

    @Muhammad Ahmed Hashmi
    allegations of India that militant groups from Pakistan are interfering in India. There is no proof of that
    what u mean by ur proof ?? that that each terrorist wanna call u and tell ” im a pakistani terrorist and im going to India to kill Indians, im trained by ISI, pls pray for meeee ” with video proof ??
    its u urself are responsible for each and every problem in pakistan, that its ur creation, its u invited them for ur in ternal and external activities.Recommend

  • Muhammad Hanif
    May 28, 2011 - 10:48AM

    Well said Mr. professor… indian and enemies of pakistan are very pleased…. thank you.Recommend

  • Henna Khan
    May 28, 2011 - 11:02AM

    You cannot deny the fact, that India’s attitude has only changed recently. Yes, I too would agree with those who say that we shouldn’t make more bombs and reduce the size of the Army and expenditures that’re being spent on them, considering the fact that it’s safe to assume that we don’t face the threat of being directly attacked from India. India isn’t just dangerous perhaps not as much as it was in the past, the bigger problem is it’s intelligence is faulty, which in my opinion is a bad combination, considering the fact that the list of 50 suspects that they handed to our govt, two of them have been discovered in India and 19 of them are Daud Ibrahim’s people. With a neighbour like India I feel comfortable being “armed”, along with hoping that we never have had to use it. The days when we were going through the process of making nuclear arsenal, our economy was relatively better. Our Army needs to be sidelined but we need Tayyab Erdogan to do it, with patience and wisdom.

    I really like your point referring to ZAQ, he was undoubtedly a great politician and a leader, a man with a vision, but he was also a man with extreme pride and hunger for power, we conveniently forget his role in the mess that led to the 1971. My father isn’t just being Jamat-e-Islamic after all, when refers to the same truth…Recommend

  • Imran Khalid
    May 28, 2011 - 11:09AM

    @Maria: “Blame the west” all you can. But we have to deal with the repercussions of our actions. Yes, the West was a major player in what transpired during the 1980s. However, to think that we were bystanders in that great game between the 2 super powers is being naive. We were happy to be a center of attention. We were happy to be a “key player” in the great game. We are equally, if not more, to be blamed for the situation. But let’s believe for a second that it was ALL the doing of the West. My question is, what happened after? Yes, the US left us high and dry. But what did we do to change course. Unfortunately, we happily mired ourselves in this quicksand.

    The West may have lured us to the edge, but it was our decision to jump without a parachute. Unless and until we analyze our own collective actions, we won’t be able to resolve the problems. Recommend

  • Indian
    May 28, 2011 - 11:13AM

    Pakistan can never compete with India in warfare atleast for another hundred years. This doesn’t mean India is going to fight them. If Indian intends to fight or destroy Pakistan it would have done the moment after Mumbai attacks. What kind of a country with highest Intelligent agency (ISI) helps terrorist to breach Indian border and kill people. Even though various parties strongly demanded a retaliation of ballistic missile attack on Pak, Indian government didn’t do it. Indian government has a strict policy of following democratic principles. India is repeatedly asking Pak to eliminate terrorist within their soil. If they were not able to do it, handing over their home land to some other country like US or India or NATO until they curb terrorism. Us has done a good jo killing Osama at Abbottabad. How can anyone on the face of earth oppose this act. Seriously Pak government couldnt do it and US did. If Osama was alive he would have acquired nuke weapons of Pak and destroy US, India and…. sorry bro Pak is not an exception. :)Recommend

  • May 28, 2011 - 11:28AM

    Yar! u ill will indians do nothing except to pull down pakistan.this remains ur national issue and attitude but, u forgot ur history of 800 years back.
    if there is no USA or USSR u indians were being cut like ” Mole Gajer”

    this should be shame for u to compare ur country with pak 10 times smaller than urs.
    u Indians being a big country should be more responsible that Sub-cont is on brink of Nuclear war. ur leaders are getting coaxed by West and Israel and u are ignoring ur own regional intrest playing as puppet.

    Ultimate victim will be ur country coz Israel and USA are far from Pak Balastic missil range. this time u r suppose to support pakistan for the regional hormany and peace.Recommend

  • Dee Jay
    May 28, 2011 - 11:37AM

    Commendable job Mr. Hoodbhoy these are the harsh realities of our present and past. I agree with your words treating Bengolies like a 2nd class citizens, we Pakistanis are still not accepting whatever we have done to them. We are still fooling ourselves that we are angles and the rest are evils on planet earth , we are still convinced that we are the only nation responsible for the implementation of Islamic ideologies (even though we know better we are not together) .
    I don’t know exactly how is the future of Pakistan, but I can imagine it will be worse then Afghanistan. I have a believe that whatever goes comes around.
    We must not forget whatever have done to our neighboring Islamic country we are responsible to destroy their generations even after the Soviet War. Recommend

  • Nation Prevails
    May 28, 2011 - 11:40AM

    Now the Liberals like author are destined to disintegrate Pakistan. They get food, shelter, education, and many many more things from Pakistan but at the end of the day these scumbags speak highly of Enemies of Pakistan,, what a pathetic worm.. Its really a shame. Every one know that Pakistan is not going to use (Because its a deadly weapon) them unless in dire situation..

    but one should also see on other side of the coin, this tool can be to avoid the wars.

    over and out Recommend

  • Raj
    May 28, 2011 - 11:41AM

    Why don’t common Pakistanis come to streets and start asking questions to their leaders like Egypt? Blaming India and US for all your miseries will not help. Even if India and West are hundred percent responsible for today’s state of Pakistan, what are common Pakistanis doing? Why did they allow them to do so? Why did they danced at the tune of these foreigners? I know what people will say now. It’s not them but their leaders are responsible while the citizens are innocent rabbits slaughtered by the administration. Then why can’t they come out and start a motion to change things around?

    You need to know the leadership did not come from moon or Mars. It has been chosen from within the people by the people. So probably it’s high time that you start introspecting your deeds.

    Just cribbing within their four walls over a cup of tea will not change anything for you. Take onus and come forward to positively contribute to your society and nation rather than getting bullied by the propaganda of a handful.Recommend

  • M Ali Khan
    May 28, 2011 - 12:05PM

    We have been grass for far too long. Time to focus on feeding, clothing, housing, employing and most importantly EDUCATING the people of this country to move beyond blind rhetoric.

    We can relish at Musarat Shaheen’s Oscar winning performance for Haseena Atom Bumm later.Recommend

  • May 28, 2011 - 12:07PM

    well written.Recommend

  • ImnIndian
    May 28, 2011 - 12:31PM

    how many pakistanis feel that their forefathers should not have left india or should have entered india after partition? i think quite a few.Recommend

  • May 28, 2011 - 12:34PM

    I read the whole article. I must admire its author Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy. In my opinion, he is very much clear in his thinking and can express his heart by pen.Recommend

  • humayun habib
    May 28, 2011 - 12:39PM

    dont tend to agree with conclusion i.e. Giving up the arms. Otherwise a very good read. If we had the bomb in 1971, we would have condemned the indian indan interference, nothing else.Recommend

  • A Patel
    May 28, 2011 - 12:48PM

    @Muhammad Ahmed Hashmi:
    If one wants to understand the bottomline, any and all goverments are meant for protecting their people. The crux of this (protection) being the state is governed by its own people, who are working for their welfare, in each and all ways possible, and that implies not sheltering goons and terrorists for any of the motive. But if happens like in case of pakistan, other states also have duty to protects their intrests, and life of their own citizens. Also it is proved a state can not be governed by religious fanatisam and making terrorists heroes of people, and height of madness, claiming to protect people by nuclear bomb.

    Final truth, why all terroists head for pakistan for shelter..? perhaps answer lies in, that the pakistan is only country in word hijacked by its own army, and sheltering terrorists, make pakistani people suffer, in anticipation it would help their natonal cause, which is still to be attained after 60 years of independence. Only reason the mothod being persued.Recommend

  • Sultan Mahmood
    May 28, 2011 - 12:54PM

    Its an art to keep a balance when you are writing an article about India-Pak (doesnt matter if its history, present or future related). The toughest part is to remain neutral. I understand that every writer tries to make others aware of how he/she feels about things/events as they occur or have occurred in the past, and neutrality is lost in it. Mr. Writer has tried the same thing but it severely lacks balance and neutrality. Come on sir! Deep down in our hearts we know everything, where we were wrong, where our bangali broz were wrong and where you are worng. But our wrongs are not an excuse for others to do more wrong. Juggling with words and figures wont make them facts.
    Now come to Nuke:-)
    When both sides dont trust each other, with continuous allegations of intruders from both sides, it think its a good thing that they give a reasonable consideration to nukes to keep themselves bullying around and solve their issues through diallogue. You dont want nukes, no problem, take a lead and disarm them first and Pak wont need them automatically. But you dont trust Pak, and now you would understand the worth of asking Pak to disarm nukes. I give you a better idea, lets do it together under IAEA!
    1971 was 4 decades ago, whatever happened was wrong, but lets not let it hold us back. Learn your lessons and let us learn ours. Correct yourself and let us correct ourselves!Recommend

  • Raha
    May 28, 2011 - 1:00PM

    why all indians so much praising him when their govtt started it and threaten pakistan hoodbye we all know is a sell out dare to publish it tribuneRecommend

  • Adnan
    May 28, 2011 - 1:10PM

    This man lives in cloud cuckoo land. The difference between him and Dr Qadeer Khan is one blows hot air delivering lectures on nuclear physics while the other has actually achieved something! His talents are wasted writing in htese columns- he should be writing for Times of India.Recommend

  • T
    May 28, 2011 - 1:35PM

    coz fragile pakistani nuclear weapons are threaten to urself and to the entire worldRecommend

  • Amer
    May 28, 2011 - 2:01PM

    Mr. Hoodbhoy the difference for the reader between someone who has achieved something for the nation (Dr. AQ Khan), then writes an article and someone who only writes in newspaper column denouncing Pakistan’s capability to defend it’s self and painting doomsday is like the sea and the desert! Need a say more! Recommend

  • Adeel Ahmed
    May 28, 2011 - 2:13PM

    I am loving how all the Indians are so welcoming and full of praise for mr. hoodboy’s article…

    Pakistani, please take note.

    Its testament enough that what Mr. Hoodboy has said is completely against the interest of Pakistan… Recommend

  • Cherish Raj
    May 28, 2011 - 2:24PM

    The real difference is, one of them is a peace activist and the other is the worlds only nuclear weapons exchange broker.Recommend

  • Someone
    May 28, 2011 - 2:28PM

    The Muslim population of India is growing fast. In a couple of centuries (400-500 perhaps?) majority of India will become Muslim. Therefore, Pakistan will be reborn – this time not just west and east, but all directions :)Recommend

  • Blondie
    May 28, 2011 - 2:44PM

    I agree with Dr Hoodbhoy’s opinion that we lost East Pakistan because of our haughtiness and that we considered our brothers and sisters to the East as children of the lesser god. That granted but rest of his debate is absolutely convoluted.
    If Pakistan had the bomb in 1971, Indians couldn’t played the role in Pakistan’s break up.
    AQK and Hoodbhoy have at least one mad string in common. AQK is grumpy – nuclear weapons are not a panacea for all ills. Mr. Hoodbhoy is also perennially paranoid with Pakistan’s nuclear bomb and program.
    The author has aptly given Soviet Union’s example but fails to identify that American nukes did not save it from the fateful 9/11 and British weapons didn’t save them from 7/7. Off course, he wouldn’t like to sour his relations with the West – that’s blasphemy. He wouldn’t like to point Indian weakness that their ‘bum’ couldn’t prevent Mumbai – pointing fingers at the West’s chum is more serious.
    India may not swallow a Pakistan bomb – so Pakistan won’t swallow theirs. It’s India who has never agreed to a South Asia nuclear Weapons Free Zone, tabled by Pakistan many times but now overtaken by time.
    Pakistan was a lair for OBL and remains a lair for the ‘so-called’ intellectuals and peaceniks who can ignore India’s capability and find their intent reassuring.
    I agree with Dr Hoodbhoy’s suggestions that we should have a sustainable democracy, an economy for peace rather than war, a federation in which provincial grievances can be effectively resolved, and I salute him for the recommendation to eliminate feudal system.
    I strongly disagree that Pakistan should give up its weapons of last resort – it can ultimately do it simultaneously with other nuclear weapon states and the states that are a key-turn away from the bomb.
    Trust we must – but not without verification.Recommend

  • Goonga
    May 28, 2011 - 2:44PM

    I’m really moved by the passionate plea by Hoodbhoy in the last paragraph of his column and wish to join him in these noble causes. Would it be possible for the learned Prof to cite some of his contribution(s) towards these noble endeavors to jump start novices like myself…….Recommend

  • Ghairatmand
    May 28, 2011 - 2:46PM

    @Maria : you never replied my query to you in several other blogs. Where is the proof to show Indian involvement in balochistan ? How come ur super powerful and all great and the godly figure hamid said not yet provided the Pakistani people any evidence ? Oh yes for the generation who just listens to Quran without reading and understanding it, for them just hearing that India is involved is truth and proof enough! I still request you to shame me, provide proof ! Btw nuclear arms race was started by your friend china in response to which India conducted test. Lear your history. That’s the least you can do!
    @author : thought provoking articleRecommend

  • Malay
    May 28, 2011 - 2:51PM

    @Raha,@Adnan and the others having similar views on Dr. Hoodbhoy.

    I can only say you people don’t deserve people like him.
    As an Indian I wish we had a person like him on our side of the border. Not that we don’t have sensible balanced people here. But as they say, the more the better.Recommend

  • May 28, 2011 - 2:58PM

    Dear Professor

    I wish Dr. A Q Khan new how Pakistan was born. His forefathers coming from areas that now constitute Pakistan did not vote for Muslim League / Pakistan in 1946 election. It was the dark and short Bengali Muslims of Bengal that overwhelmingly voted for Muslim League and had a Govt of Muslim League in Bengal and fro Dr Khan’s Pakistan where he could develop his bomb and export it too and even provide shelter Osama bin laden. That was the grates blander the Bengali Muslim did.

    If he is so boastful about his nukes why does he not use it against USA which is ravazing Pakistan and its sovereignty day up to day and even killing Osama deep inside Pakistan. Why is he saving his nukes and for whom?

    I wish he read history and the decency and acumeny and sagacity like you and could say as you do “On this May 28, the day when Pakistan tested its nuclear weapons, let us resolve to eliminate this curse rather than celebrate. Instead of building more bombs, we need to protect ourselves by building a sustainable and active democracy, an economy for peace rather than war, a federation in which provincial grievances can be effectively resolved, elimination of the feudal order and creating a tolerant society that respects the rule of law.”

    But he cant as God does not want him to be a decent human being let alone a decent muslim.

    Thank you professor for your excellent article.Recommend

  • urfi
    May 28, 2011 - 3:03PM

    Revolutions can’t be stopped with bombs but enemies can!
    with this in mind, nuclear bomb would have done nothing to stop Bangali brother to go for their independence but it could have wiped off the smirk on India’s face.

    The writer seems to be very intent on voicing and confirming the allegations of India that militant groups from Pakistan are interfering in India. There is no proof of that and any voice confirming such false allegations without providing evidence of it can’t be considered patriot!Recommend

  • Saleem Khan
    May 28, 2011 - 3:09PM

    @jagjit sidhoo: Dr Hood Bhouy is a great scholar but unfortunately majority of Pakistanis are not able to accept truth, that he is sharing. I personally likes him, very down to earth and great professor. He could earn millions and millions after studying from MIT University but he is serving nation.

    Thank you Sir and I wish to be like you..though I reads your all articles and listen your discussions…seriously they changed my perception and today I come to know that who is right and who is wrong.Recommend

  • Muhammad Iqbal
    May 28, 2011 - 3:27PM

    Some wise men said “There is no shortcut to happiness”. Pakistan’s nuclear bomb was a shortcut. Our conventional engineering industry was and is never able to support this program. As a solution Dr. Khan did outsourcing, he did everything to get equipment, smuggling, steeling whatever was required he did. We made the bomb but we failed to get advantages and bye products of any nuclear program: the sustainable development of engineering industry. Regarding 1971 incident I am agree with the author because political issues cannot be solved with bombs. But I am sure about one thing that if we had nuclear bomb before Russian invasion in Afghanistan we can easily isolate ourselves form getting involved in this war.Recommend

  • Dr Mustafa Siddiqui
    May 28, 2011 - 3:29PM

    Dr Hoodbhoy always writes very eloquently but his writings reflect his severe contempt for nuclear weapons to the extent that he loses objectivity. As a professor I do expect him to realize that any good argument should always discuss the flip side. While his argument applies to 1971, there are numerous instances (Brasstacks, Kargil, Mumbai attack, Abbottabad) where only nuclear status saved Pakistan. And to think that India wouldn’t take or break Pakistan because of India’s poverty is the lamest argument I’ve heard. However we certainly don’t need to break the record for the number of nuclear weapons though which has been alleged recently.

    Dr Mustafa SiddiquiRecommend

  • Mohan
    May 28, 2011 - 3:44PM

    I agree with the professor’s analysis. Could you “truly” turn Pakistani clock back to democracy, and non-violence? I think Pakistan reached a point of no return.( I wish I am wrong.) It is like asking Hitler to practice non-violence. What India could do? Nothing, except improve its defence infrastructure, sing and dance “peace and friendship”. ISI and LeT will be working on their “Islamic Jihad” 24/7, with the help of their new found Chinese thugs. People get killed. Life goes on. Nation survives. What India should do? Just do what it is doing now. Talk less, reduce corruption and improve education. Recommend

  • Aristo
    May 28, 2011 - 3:49PM

    One day we will wake up like 2nd of May ’11 or 23rd of May ’11 and will find out that our nuclear assets have been dismantled or taken over by either US special forces or UN and the Pak armed forces will very conveniently once again accept that it was an intelligence failure and that there is nothing we can do about it now and lets look at the future and not dwell in the past.Recommend

  • mo
    May 28, 2011 - 4:02PM

    It will only remain your dream that you can attack pakistan.. pakistanis are fearless.. and fearless nations can over come 1 billion like you anytimeRecommend

  • G. Din
    May 28, 2011 - 4:11PM

    @Dibya Prakash:
    “His (Dr. A Q Khan’s) forefathers coming from areas that now constitute Pakistan did not vote for Muslim League / Pakistan in 1946 election.
    Correction: Dr. Khan is originally from Bhopal, India!Recommend

  • Tanweer
    May 28, 2011 - 4:12PM

    The headline “What if Pakistan did not have the A-Bomb” is very eyecatching; however what follows it is just more of lawyer-talk. What is the connection between 1971 and A-bomb? IF AQK has made a hasty comment; the article above is just a continuation of that hasty appraoch but in another direction. Convenient Conclusion! Recommend

  • Computer Scientist
    May 28, 2011 - 4:27PM

    @Dr Mustafa Siddiqui:

    You are missing the point, Sir. Kargil and Mumbai won’t have happened if Pakistan was not a nuclear state. Recommend

  • Faiza Ahmed
    May 28, 2011 - 5:18PM

    You have got to be kidding me with this article! I as a Pakistani national, am proud of being part of a nuclear state. I will not tolerate having it any other way. Nuclear power is what makes us different. It’s what sets us apart from the rest of the developing countries! It is a shout to the world in the name of national self defense and the only factor that highlights our sovereignty. I am proud all the scientists involved in our nuclear program. Dr. Munir Ahmed Khan and Dr. Abdussalam, being my primary heroes. We are the only muslim state to have nuclear capabilities with around 90-100 warheads and thats why half of the non muslim countries are always behind us. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has declared our nuclear program a safe and even the US has admitted that its not aware of all of our nuclear sites. It is imperative that the world knew of our second strike capabilities and as a citizen of a self-respecting nation, I am proud of todays day and I will always celebrate it with pride.Recommend

  • jagjit sidhoo
    May 28, 2011 - 5:33PM

    @Imran Khalid: I agree with u brother we dont need more bombs what we have if used against each other will take us both to the stone age . From there maybe the stone age will look an advanced civilization. Recommend

  • May 28, 2011 - 5:41PM

    @Muhammad Hanif: Lot of friends my dearRecommend

  • Talat Haque
    May 28, 2011 - 6:31PM

    A beautiful mind !Recommend

  • Ozymandias
    May 28, 2011 - 6:51PM

    Simplistic at best. Mr Hoodbhoy’s thesis would be wonderful in a world where we could all hold hands and sing ‘Kumbaya’, but that’s not the world we live in, and never will be.Recommend

  • AA
    May 28, 2011 - 9:43PM

    Who needs healthy population, educated children or thriving economy when you have the bomb?
    Who cares if rest of the world thinks Pakistanis are terrorists? Who cares if most foreign embassies, including “brotherly muslim” consulates don’t give Pakistanis a visa?
    Who cares if Pakistani passport means additional security checks at every airport in the world?
    Who cares if the moment you say you are a Pakistani, people distance themselves from you?
    Who cares if your government begs for money at every opportunity?

    Didn’t a Pakistani leader say Pakistanis will get the bomb even if people have to eat grass. Well, your wish is granted. So why so much discussion? Recommend

  • Avanti
    May 28, 2011 - 9:50PM

    @Henna Khan: “You cannot deny the fact, that India’s attitude has only changed recently.”

    I agree and it is for the better. But your logic is incorrect. India’s priorities have changed because it wants to focus on being a world leader in terms of economics. It has nothing to do with Pak’s bombs.

    Using your logic, once India got it’s nukes, it should have been less friendlier with China, but on the contrary, the two countries are doing good business and aiming for more. Recommend

  • indian hindu
    May 28, 2011 - 10:40PM

    pakistanis very conveniently forget that India has a no first use policy for nuclear weapons.
    we are suffering from terrorist attacks from border but we showed restraint.
    that is the sign of a responsible great power.
    and god forbid, if a nuclear war do happen, i shudder to think what will happen to pak because it is too small. radiation will have a deadly effect there.
    so be responsible, talk about peace and stop sheltering any terrorist on the basis of religious affiliation.
    also, pak should stop interfering in aghani affairs and let them run their affairs as they want.
    i want to ask, what help pak has given to afghans except creating taliban.
    see how India has donated $ 1.5 billion to afghanis and learn from this act of kindness.Recommend

  • abc
    May 28, 2011 - 10:53PM

    @Nation Prevails:
    the real democracy is one where dissenting voice and views coexist in perfect harmony.

    be Good and Good comes to you.Recommend

  • mujtaba rizvi
    May 28, 2011 - 11:04PM

    Pakistan is not country.its a tribute.I mujtaba Rizvi wants to become nuclear scientist and want to support pakistan.but unfortunately there’s no future left in this feild.

    This is not actually a feedback.It’s a hope to pakistani people.I want to share one saying of guid-e-azam that.

    one day Mrs.nehru claimed that if pakistan get establish by chance it would take about 50 years to stand pakistan on its feets.
    Mrs.Muhammad ali jinnah replied”No!it would take 100 years”
    so we still have 40 years according to Quaid-Azam.
    Refrence:shahab nama by shahbudin. Recommend

  • fahim
    May 28, 2011 - 11:07PM

    One of the best articles ever !!! So much appreciate some sane voices speaking in this insane country. May allah bless you sir..Recommend

  • Abhi
    May 28, 2011 - 11:15PM

    @Faiza Ahmed
    Its not only the Bomb but Osama Bin Laden also separates you from other developing nations :)Recommend

  • Ghairatmand
    May 28, 2011 - 11:38PM

    @Faiza Ahmed: bhai mere, developing country also has far bigger contribution to world and process of self development, both which is missing in Pakistan. if you think I m saying out of prejudices, please correct me, list me what is Pakistans contribution to world? How come when you say Pakistan or put it in any search engine the first many links talks about trouble and terrorism. what have you developed besides nuke? For country who boasts about missiles don’t even have a space program. Developing nation means nations in process of or who contributes in development of not just their own infrastructure but develops something useful which they can contribute to the world! Pride is good, but too much pride abets ignorance and arrogance.
    @Maria – still waiting for that evidence of India’s involvement in balochistan :)Recommend

  • May 29, 2011 - 12:14AM

    If surrendering NUKES going to make Pakistan a progressive, developed, powerful, economically viable, peaceful and safe then I would have liked to surrender the NUKES as well, can Mr. Perez Hoodbhoy promise me all? give me a break Pervez Hoodbhoy.Recommend

    May 29, 2011 - 12:29AM

    Ultimate goal of every good government should be to make their country a welfare state. In order to achieve this goal the nations have to have peace in and around their country. Without peace prosperity of the people will remain an unfulfilled dream. In the subcontinent the peace is dependent on the resolution of disputes between Pakistan and India. The two countries have always faced such situations in which the war appeared to be imminent. Their disputes still remain unresolved but there is some thing which has prevented them from going to war. No one has ever used nuclear weapons after Hiro Shima and Naga Saki. All the permanent members of UN Security council are Nuclear states. We have seen them fighting in Security Council but not in the battle field. We have seen a very long period of cold war but none of the nuclear power ever used the nuclear bomb because of the obvious reason. Nuclear weapons all over the world have deterred the nations from going to war. In other words Nuclear weapons in fact have given us a long pause of peace after the second world war. In the case of Pakistan too it has saved us from the black mail and high handedness of our big neighbour. Unfortunately we have not been able to use this period of peace to our best advantage. I have known Dr. Hood bhoy for a very long period. He has such rigid ideas about Pakistan’s nuclear programme that he tends forget the history of the undivided subcontinent and also fails to take note of the ground realities of the Indo-Pak relations.Recommend

  • John Doe
    May 29, 2011 - 6:25AM

    Dr.Pervez’s seems to be one of the most sane voices from Pakistan I have heard for a long time.
    God willing, Pakistani leadership realises this fact soon and for sure will bring a sea change in Pakistan’s fortune. It is very true when Dr. Pervez says that India has least interest to attack Pakistan( or for that matter any country) using even conventional arms (leave alone nuclear).
    Friends, we can change the course of history by getting over our petty differences regarding kashmir or balochistan. If we cannot be good friends at least let us be good neighbors. If there is fire in my neighbor’s house it can spread to my house too.. In that case, it doesn’t make sense to be involved even remotely in act of starting the fire.
    Potential of bilateral exchange of goods and services between India and Pakistan are humongous. Just little understanding will immensely benefit people of both the nations. Recommend

  • May 29, 2011 - 6:47AM

    There is one advantage in both of us having nuclear weapons there will never again be an all out war like 65 or 71 because if the two countries have the capability to deliver even one weapon each these would be launched at New Delhi and Islamabad . Now this would kill the the ruling class on both sides, they do not want to die themselves but want u and me to fight and if need be die . They themselves just want to perpetuate their power and their dynasties . In the meantime localized battles like Kargil will continue to be fought the dead jawans will get there medals the powers that be will make the right noises to keep us fools happy . Rather CYNICAL but TRUE . So having so many nuclear weapons is a waste of money, having one each on both sides will do the job just fine, as they will never be used . FOOD FOR THOUGHT Recommend

  • Rohit Sen
    May 29, 2011 - 7:51AM

    Guys, India has no intention to walk into Pakistan. After decades of struggle with socialist policies the country is benefiting from progress (although some benefiting more than others) after the economic liberalization since 1991! Two more decades of c.8% growth can really alleviate the poverty issue to a significant extent. That is india’s focus. To all those paranoid lot who think that nuclear weapons are stopping india from attacking Pakistan, well Bangladesh is not nuclear armed and it was also part of India. By that logic india should have annexed Bangladesh by now… Fact that no one is even bringing this up as a threat shows how misguided the other option is. Let’s all try and resolve the Kashmir issue and work towards prosperity post that. Recommend

  • J Oberoi
    May 29, 2011 - 12:00PM

    @Muhammad Ahmed Hashmi:
    No “proof” of Pakistan sending terrorists into India? Do you even read? What about the Kasabs, Headley, Ranas etc…? Pull your head out of the sand and face up to reality. Your military is not what you have been led to believe. Recommend

    May 29, 2011 - 12:50PM

    Theoretically, Mr. Pervez’s views on nuclearization of Pakistan do have some weight but they tend to ignore the ground realities pertaining to the history of Indo-Pak relations. There is no doubt that every country needs prosperity and for progress and prosperity one needs peace. It is also a reality that disputes between India and Pakistan remain to be unresolved. I agree that disputes must be resolved through peaceful negotiations but if you are a weak country then the stronger side will never come on to the negotiations table and even if they agree to negotiate then the stronger side will always try to extract a maximum from the weaker side through coercion. In order to protect itself from the coercion and black mail, the weaker side will always have to ensure its security before it can think of having peace or prosperity. This is exactly what Pakistan has done. This point pertaining to” security first or prosperity first” has always been debated with conflicting views on the subject. In certain cases it may be true to have prosperity first and then security but certainly not in the case of Pakistan. All the nuclear powers sitting in the security council have economic and political interests divergent from each other. They have been fighting with each other in security council but certainly not in the battlefield. Their nuclear weapons have ensured peace. After Hiro Shima and Naga Saki, we have seen a very long period of peace. By maintaining a kind of military balance, these countries have enjoyed a prolonged period of peace which they have utilized for their economic development. We have also been able to maintain peace with India ever since we exploded our first nuclear device but unfortunately due to the situation Afghanistan we have not been able use this period for our economic development. Recommend

  • khawr
    May 29, 2011 - 1:09PM

    the current suffering of the people of pakistan is based on the incompetence and corruption in our bureaucracy and political leadership, the bomb is in fact a symbol of achievement of our people which would not have been possible had the bureaucracy had authority over dr qadeer, we should talk about bureaucratic reforms instead of the bomb, the author is spreading the anti pakistan propaganda if he was concerned with pakistan he should have given efforts to reform bureaucracy instead of filling his coffers and writing anti bomb propaganda I hope we recognize these people and point them out insha allah Recommend

  • Sun Tzu's Dog
    May 29, 2011 - 2:59PM

    The commenters to this article are forgetting a 500 pound gorilla in the room – China. Most of India’s weapon systems are largely to balance an agressive China- we lost a war to them in 65. Pakistan does not have anything that India covets that it will one day invade it. I am glad India has sucessfully integrated mutli ethic and multi religious citizenery with great difficulty over the years, we have great many internal problems as it is and dont want all the additional headache integrating another 180 million into our fold. Things will continue to worsen until Pakistan does what is best for itself rather than run to mummy daddy (US and China) for everything. Littel does Pakistan know that historical Great Game between powers has now shifted east wards from Afghanistan to Pakistan.Recommend

  • May 29, 2011 - 3:06PM

    Good to see people accepting that pakistan uses its bombs to protect militant groups.Recommend

  • A.Ali
    May 29, 2011 - 5:19PM

    All i know is Khan sacrificed his luxurious life for Pakistan, i study in the same university where khan studied in Netherlands. In the filed of engineering he used to represent Netherlands in international community just because of his outstanding academic performance. By saying in this sense, this bomb gave nothing to Pakistan, is a slap on the face of khan you could have been the Dean of TU-Delft earning millions of euros. but the dilemma of this country is, if something gives to this country, we people criticize more than appreciating. i would ask Mr. Author what you have done for your country other than criticizing the person who lives in the heart of million people?Recommend

  • May 29, 2011 - 5:20PM

    I don’t think anyone should have nuclear weapons, but if Pakistan didn’t have nuclear capability, it might be another Iraq. The US attacks defenseless countries at it pleases.

    It seems to me that both Bangladesh and Kashmir should have the right to decide their own fate. It’s unfortunate there has been so much bloodshed over countries (all of the world) trying to hang onto land against the will of the people who live there. Having nukes to force the issue sounds like a truly grotesque idea. Recommend

  • Miraj Kalimuddin
    May 29, 2011 - 5:35PM

    What Blasphemy !!! We will ride and conquer India.
    Wait for Mahdi Zaid Hamid to start the Ghazwa-e-Hind. All the Kafirs will cower hearing Zaid Hamid’s thunderous roarRecommend

  • May 29, 2011 - 5:57PM

    @Imran Khalid
    Pakistan is still strapped with heavy debt from the IMF loan sharks too. It has to pay 60% of its budget to debt service and that is the fault of the West. The West still interferes with economic development and contributes to instability. Pakistan is crawling with CIA. So yes, every country has to consider its decisions. But if Pakistan is drowning and the US keeps pushing its head under water, that is certainly unhelpful.Recommend

  • J Oberoi
    May 29, 2011 - 6:26PM

    @Miraj Kalimuddin:
    I must confess, Zaid Hamid scares me. His whole body starts to shake when India is mentioned. I hope guys like him don’t have access to nukes.Recommend

    May 29, 2011 - 7:04PM


    Let me tell you in the clearest language that there is no truth that your normal life is going to be touched or disturbed so far as your Bengali language is concerned.Recommend

  • Maria
    May 29, 2011 - 8:20PM

    @Ghairatmand: Funny that you can’t choose an Indian name as your monker but I think you know full well the games that Indian intelligence is playing against Pakistan with their lackeys in Afghanistan and RAW agents. It has been going on since the British left. There have been repeated exposures in Pak media and even through Western sources of Indian interference in Pakistan and the intrusion of Indian criminal agents through Afghanistan. As for your particular reference to Baluchistan, look no further than a recent book by an English writer, Anatol Lieven’s Pakistan a Hard Country. I usually don’t bother responding to Indians on a Pakistani news site because you already know the answers to your duplitious questions.Recommend

  • nasrullah
    May 29, 2011 - 11:50PM

    its right that the nuclear weapons wouldnt have saved pakistan from being devided in two parts but its unjustified that we should surrender our atomic weapons destroying the balance of power from south asia. if we do so clearly india will be dictating us and we will be just like kashmiries and indian muslims who are victims of india. soviets and indians are supplying weapons to these militants. its an open war between isi and raw. as isi is much involved with america to tacle those talibans RAW is making its way into our country through afghanistan. the thing which pakistan should now concenterate is to turn the war from north waziristan and send a clear message to india if they will cordon off there terrorist policy it they will pay for it. same game can be easily done against them too.Recommend

  • Jamshed
    May 30, 2011 - 12:37AM

    though india have 1.2 billion population but india dont have enough resources to feed 1.2 billion ppls they dnt have energy and Pakistan is energy corridor that india need badly .. may b u forgot how badly india want to be part of IPI pipeline and TAPI pipeline .. they only concerns they have is energy security and with pakistan in the middle .. india cant have a secure energy corridor so u cant even imagine where pakistan wud have been now without neuclear .. but u r comparing todays pakistan with neuclear bomb which is totally irrelevant .. todays pakistan is the result of our F….ing corrupt democracy… and of war of terror it have nothing to do with neuclear.. Pakistan progressed with 7-8 % GDP growth few years ago .. but democracy is best revenge . and whole nation is victim of this revenge . Recommend

  • May 30, 2011 - 2:03AM

    Someone in the US said this about Hitler’s failed attempt to make the nuclear bomb.. “We are so lucky that Hitler could not make the nuclear bomb, otherwise we would all be speaking German today.”Recommend

  • asad mufty
    May 30, 2011 - 5:49AM

    great article…bhot ache…really it’s good doubt about it.war never decides who is right,only who is left. asad mufty.Recommend

  • Demosthenes
    May 30, 2011 - 7:07AM

    Dr Hoodbhoy is right on target. If you want a good example of a nuclear state in chaos, struggling to hold onto it’s nuclear based “power” just look at the USSR. A failure, and the ” new democraticRussia isn’t much better being controlled by a dictator and his thug friends. If PK is to survive, prosper and be a true great power it must embrace reinvestment in it’s infrastructure and people not in the military and yet more weapons. Terrorists don’t find converts in successful educated societies. Military and Police states actually foster terrorists. Democracy’s don’t. Businesses and education need freedom to grow and if all the freedom and economy is slanted towards weapons and war there will be what PK has right now. Chaos, innocent death and poor willing to be a bomber for one more terrorist group! .

    1. Jobs,
    2. schools
    3. hospitals
    4. embracing a green sustainable solar based economy

    All could make Pakistan a central Asian powerhouse much like S. Korea has done for itself out of the shards of war.Recommend

  • Smarty
    May 30, 2011 - 7:15AM

    @Miraj Kalimuddin:
    Zaid Hamid is just using the sentiments of people. There are 16 crore muslims in India. Hope you understand this soon in your lifetime. Recommend

  • Sumeet
    May 30, 2011 - 8:01AM

    @Muhammad Ahmed Hashmi:
    Mr Hashmi, you are missing the author’s point. He is talking about the cost of maintaining the bomb in terms of social cost, cultural cost, and cost Pakistan is pay for her dependence on foreign hands to sustain these bombs.

    Let understand this way, if I buy, say Lamborghini, an Italian car, highly expensive car manufacture and serviced in Italy only, I need to spend lot of money in maintaining this car. I need to spend not Indian Rupee but Euro to maintain this car. (Please note I am talking about maintenance cost not the running cost, which is in US dollar in terms of oil purchase). However if I buy a TATA india car, manufacture and serviced in India, I don’t have to depend on foreign country to service my car. My good friend who lives next door to me and has a mechanical degree can do 50% of maintenance on my car and remaining can be taken care by my car dealer who in turn depends on a local TATA factory to supply spare part. I am not depended to any foreign hand to maintain my car.

    In case of Pakistan, she brought bomb from US and now has to pay them to maintain this bomb or else it will become a scrap. Recommend

  • Harry
    May 30, 2011 - 8:10AM

    Great article! its hard to find such truth in todays political media games. For sure, bombs can not build and protect people.Recommend

  • Abdull Mannan.
    May 30, 2011 - 9:06AM

    ATOM BOMB and Pakistan. Pakistan had the technology but it was after the Indian atomic explosion that Pakistan tested its atomic device.And Pakistanis know about the change in the Indian attitude and threatening posture of Indian leaders towards Pakistan after their atomic explosion.Pakistan and India have atom bombs but these will never be used against any of the two countries or any other nation for lives of all human beings are sacred.Pakistan has developed the bomb to protect itself from the Indian blackmail and threats and Pakistan was proved right as it appeared from Indian attitude soon after their experiment.But people of Pakistan and also we can say mjority of Indian people also want to live in peace.We should all endevour to achieve this objective.SO far the Bangladesh ,our leaders at that time as now ,never wanted to live as civilised nations with honour as poweful countries.This was the reason they failed to resolve their differences and respect the rights and aspirations of the people.All for their selfish ends.They will would like to further divide their nation and accept the subjugation of big powers but will refuse to respect the rights of one another and live peacefilly united .Our problems will not be solved unless we determine to live in peace with honour as great nations.So far our leaders seem not prepared to achieve this objective.Their only objective is to complete their term or as much in power s possible

    Abdul Mannan

  • Benish
    May 30, 2011 - 10:00AM

    Never ending drone attacks and the latest Abbottabad raid has eliminated the importance of so-called deterence through nukes. It has been proven that our nuclear power is a show off just to please our wounded spirits. Wake up.Recommend

  • Nadeem
    May 30, 2011 - 10:20AM

    I don’t think he means giving up the bomb, just its negative connotations such as planning military and militia adventures on our neighbors predicated on the assumption that since we have the bomb we can carry out any ‘panga’ anywhere anytime. This reckless thinking needs to definitely go. Recommend

  • Henna Khan
    May 30, 2011 - 11:28AM

    You misunderstood, I didn’t use “Pakistan as a nuclear state” reason for India’s change of heart. I know, India is trying to improve their economy, education, poverty… I just stated the fact that India has only realised this now, not in the days when Pakistan was in the process of making a bomb, when India was proving to be a genuine threat and had showed it too. If they had acknowledged this earlier, it would have saved us a reason of making a bomb, the reason was/is genuine or not, that’s, however, another debate… Recommend

  • S.R.H. Hashmi
    May 30, 2011 - 11:34AM

    I agree with Pervez hoodbhoy in what he says about the attitude of West Pakistan and West Pakistanis about Bengalis. I remember the celebration in Lahore when drunkard Ghulam Mohammed dissolved the government of sincere Bengali leader Khawaja Nazimuddin who had stepped down from the position of Governor General to that of prime minister in order to serve the country. I also agree with him when he says that our nuclear bombs could not have saved the separation of East Pakistan which came about as a result of internal problems, the basic injustice to Bangalese and the Indian invasion only speeded up the process. There is no way we could have used the nuclear bombs, even if we had these then because to do so would have been suicidal.

    The real utility of nuclear bombs lies in not using these. If we have a nuclear war with India, we can not destroy entire India because of its depth but India can wipe out Pakistan. Still, we could destroy their capital Delhi and a few of their major cities which is enough of a deterrent that discourages India from starting some misadventures. So, I would say that in our present circumstances, our nuclear arsenal is the only thing that is forcing India to keep its hands off us. Still, the nuclear bombs could not save us from ourselves. If the injustice with Balochs and Balochistan continues, if we do not find a real solution to the rising militancy and extremism and try to tackle it only through brute force, if we do not control ever-rising poverty, illiteracy, power shortages, unemployment and other social ills prevailing in the country, we will break up due to internal pressures, much the same way as the USSR did, and here the nuclear bombs will not save us.

    The writer’s comparison of the USSR situation with that of Pakistan is inept USSR broke up due to internal pressures, over-expansion and over-extension, and not through a foreign invasion and no part of its territory became foreign-occupied. With us and India, the situation is much different. With American help, India is hoping to become the regional leader and is not prepared to accept , and never accepted Pakistan as an equal, even as an independent sovereign state. The recently leaked WikiLeaks cables have revealed that the former US ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson held the view, and rightly so, that a satisfactory solution of the Kashmir problem could sort of improve the relations between India and Pakistan by reducing Kashmir-specific anti-India feelings and militancy emanating from Pakistan but India shows absolutely no intention of solving this issue which is the major if not the sole bone of conention between the two neighbours, in a just manner. On the other hand, India occupied part of Siachin and is continuously stealing our share of water. With such an enemy which shows no intention of mending its ways, we do need a deterrent and it is here that the nuclear bombs come handy. Recommend

  • May 30, 2011 - 11:36AM

    Another point blank, open and honest piece. Pervez Hoodbhoy is brilliance personified. PERIOD.Recommend

  • South Indian
    May 30, 2011 - 12:55PM

    Just want to qualify and state clearly here that in India (ex-Punjab area) we are relatively neutral, if not indifferent, towards Pakistan as a country, and fairly friendly towards Pakistanis.

    Please introspect and resolve your country’s issues, as we try to resolve ours and become a prosperous nation. As for the rest – I don’t believe there is place for any religion-based thinking in today’s scientific world, so those arguments are beneath educated people like me in India.

    Please go to school, not to the nearest places of prayer.Recommend

  • Pankaj Chaturvedi
    May 30, 2011 - 2:44PM

    No bomb or weapon can give you guarantee of security, all weapons can only destroy any thing can not save any one . ultimetly india and pakistan has to come together either in pressure of USA or in there own public Recommend

  • RS
    May 30, 2011 - 4:02PM

    No department in Pakistan is away from corruption, falsehood, depraved, illegal. The army, politicians, people are eating and inflating on Americans free money. Bombs, technology is imported by illegal ways. Do we still think that nuclear bombs will work if war starts?Recommend

  • May 30, 2011 - 4:27PM

    Brilliant article, Professor!

    How I wish, I studied under you! :)Recommend

  • Javid
    May 30, 2011 - 4:29PM

    I have met many senior Indian people. None has expressed a a desire to take over over Pakistan. We flatter and delude ourselves that Pakistan is so rich that Indians will want to conquer us. As an Indian said to me to we he would rather have Singapore than Pakistan. “We want a country with PhDs”, said an Indian to me. Indians view Pakistan as backward which is sinking in numerous problems.

    Would a sane Indian want to conquer us ?

    Do you think the British would rule us again even if we begged them ?

    Wake up and travel to other countries. Have you been to Thailand ? Have you been to China ? I have and I was shocked ! Are Chinese more intelligent than Pakistanis ? Recommend

  • May 30, 2011 - 7:22PM

    @ SRH Hasmi

    Hashmi Saheb, will you not agree with Professor Pervez when he says ” The nuclear umbrella explains why Pakistan is such a powerful magnet for all on this planet who wage war in the name of Islam: Arabs, Chechens, Uzbeks, Uighurs, and various westerners. It was, as we now know, the last lair of Osama bin Laden as well.”

    History of this subcontinent since Mohammad Bin Kassim conquered Sind goes to show that the hordes from central Asia gradually became the lord of the land they visited by taking the advantage of the situations. Are you sure those who have found safe haven in Pakistan at the behest of the GHQ would not turn against your own people and the
    nukes you feel so safe under the control of the GHQ will one day not become their weapon to colonise and destroy Pakistan?

    You dont need India to do anything as the seeds of destruction are so galringly visible Dont you think the policies follolwed since the early days of Pakistan against its own people, the Sindhis, Blochis, Postuns, Bengalees with no sign of change its course even after the independednce of Bangladesh is enough to disintegrate it? How long the GHQ can supress the Balochis, Pakhtuns and the Sindhis aspirations?

    All of us need to address the problems in Pakistan or India or Bangladesh not in isolation. We should consider it as a problem of the subcontinesnt as whole and sit together to find a solution. We dont need N- bombs either in Pakistan or in India. Be it Kashmir or siachen or the legetimate aspirations of the Balochis, Sindhis, Postuns or even the Punjabis, aspirations of the people of the North-eastern states of India or issues between India and Pakistan, India and Bangladesh or Pakistan and Bangladesh, we should review if anything was wrong in 1947 for which our parents and grandparents are only to be blamed and not us in any way. Should the 180 million Pakistanies, 160 million Bengalees and the 1.2 billion Indians should suffer and cant live as a good neighbour as we did in pre 1047days for hundreds of years? Can we find any solution to our problems created since the so called partition of India, not created by us, say in not too distant future say by 2047? All of us may not live to see it though? But our children and our children’s children may live to see it: United States of the South Asia entirely free and autonoumous. Then there will not be any Kashmir problem, No Siachen, No problem of the Balochis, Sindhis or the Postuns or the people of the constituent states.,
    Can we dare think like that, why not? Recommend

  • Purnendu Pattnaik
    May 30, 2011 - 7:49PM

    @Muhammad Ahmed Hashmi:
    Actually the world would be a much better place without the Nuclear Weapon, be it India, Pakistan, China, USA, UK or France & Soviet.
    A few of my friends from Europe actually have an opinion that India,Pakistan & China constitute almost 45% of world population and they would want three of us to go for a nuclear fight and kill ourselves so that the world population decreases and hence demand on natural resources.
    All the three countries India, Pakistan and China are producing Nuclear Weapon on everyday basis, I dont know where it leads!! Offcourse each country individually has the capacity to take the world to stone age… people of all these 3 countries need to ask themselves.Recommend

  • mussarat
    May 30, 2011 - 8:54PM

    Nuclear Bombs never protect nations Sir.

    What happened to USSR that has largest number of nuclear weapons?

    What happened to Nuclear Reactors in Japan in recent Tsunami?

    What happened to nuclear assets in Pakistan? Instead of protecting Pakistani nation, we have
    to protect nuclear bomb from going them in the hands of fanatics, we are still unsafe threatened by the terrorists much often.

    What is the use of Nuclear bomb that can’t bring prosperity, happiness or atleast supply electricity to the nation that is braving scorching hot weather and forced to pay heavy electricity bills every months regularly for not “consuming” electricity.

    It is better to dump all nuclear bombs in Arabian Gulf before terrorists capture them.

    I fail to understand if GHQ or Naval base or our army jawans are not secured in Pakistan, it will be living in fool’s paradise to beleive that “Nuclear assets of Pakistan are in safe hands”.

    Stop this nonsense!

    Oriental Poet Allama Iqbal rightly said ” Jis Khet Say Dahqan ko Mayasar Na Ho Rozi
    Us Khet Kay Har Khosha-e-Gandum Ko Jala Do”

    For God sake please speak of Education, Love and Peace and not nuclear weapon.

    We need Pakistan just educated Pakistani nation, Long Live Pakistan, Amen.



  • Avanti
    May 30, 2011 - 9:28PM

    @Henna Khan: “You misunderstood, I didn’t use “Pakistan as a nuclear state” reason for India’s change of heart.”

    In that case, agree 100%.Recommend

  • xxx
    May 30, 2011 - 9:53PM

    Pakistan have an atombom for what? For the security of the citizens or for money?
    It if for the security of pakistani citizen then u r absolutely wrong because pakistanis are daily being killed like chickens for money and its goes to the pocket of politicians. No meaning of atombomb for pakistan as pakistanis need money at any cost. What’s happening in pakistan today for money only. no for the pakistani citizens.

    Is atombomb saving pakistani citizen?

    Pakistanis are nothing but a chicken to be fried.Recommend

  • redsnapper
    May 31, 2011 - 6:10AM

    @Dr Mustafa Siddiqui

    By the way, how did the Bum save Pakistan @ Abbottabad? Please do reply as we need the humor in these difficult times.Recommend

  • BruteForce
    May 31, 2011 - 8:05AM

    India built the weapons for not only defence but also for projecting power. It was a calculated move which has done wonders. But, Pakistan went for it without thinking of the repercussions.

    Pakistan has joined the P5 with deals like the India-US nuclear deal and exemptions from NSG and IAEA waiver. While Pakistan has/will join/ed the likes of North Korea, Iran, Israel,etc.

    Smart move, eh?Recommend

  • General Biriyani
    May 31, 2011 - 9:58AM

    @Dr Mustafa Siddiqui:
    I just don’t get your view points. You quote some instances where nuke have ” saved” Pakistan. How?

    I don’t know Brasstacks, so no comments.
    In Kargil, Pakistan violated the line of control and had to backtrack, Mumbai, ISI trained terrorists killed 165 innocent civilians,
    Abottabad US raided and killed ISI protected OBL.
    Insted of thinking nukes had protected Pakistan, why don’t you think, if the army had not violated LOC, If the ISI had not sent the terrorists to Mumabi, if there were OBL in Pakistan it would have been a much better case.Recommend

  • Sibtain
    May 31, 2011 - 10:33AM

    @Muhammad Ahmed Hashmi:
    Dear Mr. Hashmi,
    Please see the curse of extremism within our society. It is eating our very own survival….it is killing us from inside but instead of doing anything and atleast stopping these monstrous school of thought we instead wait for some divine blessings….DUH…please grow up Recommend

  • Afzan
    May 31, 2011 - 11:56AM

    Very Short-sighted author… Recommend

  • Noise
    May 31, 2011 - 2:19PM

    India can afford it’s nukes Pakistan cant. India focuses on improving the state of tis people. Pakistan focuses on building more weapons.

    India has merit, Pakistan does not have merit. All those who criticize Hoodbhoy for playing to Indian interests are being shallow minded. Indian interests ans Pakistani interest should be similar, the mutual progress of our people. India does not need to undo partition or attack Pakistan. All its needs to do is wait for Pakistan to implode under the weight of its expensive army, debt, social strife and paranoia. When that happens the sane people left in Pakistan will beg for India intervention.Recommend

  • S Baig
    May 31, 2011 - 7:24PM

    What is the use of these bombs if the people that it is made to defend are living inhuman lives? Most people do not comprehend or accept the link between an impoverished Pakistan and its massive defence spending. Recommend

  • kolikal
    Jun 1, 2011 - 10:24PM

    As an Indian, I find it very encouraging that Pakistanis here are open about discussing this issue. Some small corrections first: The number of East Pakistani Bengalis killed by Pakistani army was 3 million, according to almost all local and international studies. The number of refugees that flooded India, specially the small state of West Bengal, is about 10 million.

    I believe that every Nation, besides puting a strong emphasis on educational goals, should also have a strong army. Pakistan is not exception. I don’t think the author is in favor of Pakistan disbanding their defense, as some of you here think. He is arguing that the nukes are no defense at all. They don’t help the common Pakistani be stronger, financially, socially, or economically. Instead, they make you weaker. What does it even mean that nukes saved Pakistan during Mumbai attack or during Abottabad mission. Is this what you want? Do you really support that Osama Bin Laden be hidden in Pakistan, under the nuclear umbrella? Or that trained gunmen can cross the border and kill 200 people, because a retaliation will be blocked by your nukes? Is this what your nukes are for? I am sorry, you have the wrong idea then. The author is correct. It protects only your militants, and no one else.

    To the person who says there is no proof of Pakistan’s involvement in terrorism in India, have you not heard your own Government’s acceptance after Mumbai 2008? Have you not listened to Hafeez Sayeed’s views and gatherings in Kashmir?

    I remember the public mood in India after the Mumbai attacks. God forbid, if something similar happens, the nuclear equilibrium will probably fail. India will be devastated from the nuke attacks. But think about yourselves. Every single person in Pakistan will die. every man, woman, child, politician, soldier. Are you willing to play this dangerous game of militancy protected by nukes? Are you sure nothing will go wrong in this balance?Recommend

  • Mahfuz
    Jun 2, 2011 - 9:26PM

    I am a Bangladeshi. I salute the writer for speaking the truth. Recommend

  • Noreen Bahadar
    Jun 2, 2011 - 10:30PM


  • Bangash
    Jun 2, 2011 - 10:57PM

    Abdul Qadeer Khan lost his marbles many years ago and became a smuggler and traitor.Recommend

  • gt
    Jun 3, 2011 - 12:47AM

    @Dr.Mustafa Siddiqui

    Why India will never TAKE Pakistan: demographics! 97% Muslim. Dear doctor, do you ever exercise your cognitive faculties? I should be terrified to be a patient of someone who cannot/WILL NOT think!!
    Why India will not BREAK Pakistan; the reasons are too many to list.

    Unstable, economically non-viable rump states continually in conflict with each other AND India & subject to manipulation by varied foreign powers.

    To break Pakistan, India need only declare a policy of attacking ONLY PUNJAB with a strict no-war pact with other provinces, if they exhibit no hostile intent. There will be a natural churning such as that in East Pakistan 1965 where the ground forces were NOT allowed to attack India by the Bengalis because India signalled no conflict. Only the PAF flew a few sorties, which the locals could not control.

    Pakistanis do not choose to read or understand the complex history of East Bengal. That is why they jabber like complete FOOLS over Baluchistan. Why Baluchistan when realpolitik would suggest Sindh? Anyone with an ounce of brain & education would see that Baluchistan is a no-win situation for India: no knowledge of language or culture, unlike Sindh; distance & staging problems, unlike Sindh sharing a long, porous border. Sindh already has NUMEROUS FAULT lines, Baluchistan does NOT!

    If Baluchistan breaks away, will they not seek a more powerful patron like USA or China, rather than India? So WHY should India take the trouble to help a group that will & MUST find shelter under another skirt?

    How STUPID can you be, swallowing propaganda but never thinking through any problem by yourself? You earn no respect because you are seen to be incapable of rational thought.Recommend

  • Tariq Qureshi
    Jun 3, 2011 - 1:39AM

    Mr. Hoodbhoy seems to be confused! Yes, all Pakistani’s understand we did Bengali’s wrong. Yes, we understand that 54% population was in Bangladesh and government should have been handed over to them unlike the drama created by power hungry Bhutto and Yahya, but Mr. Hoodbhoy what has that got to do with the bomb!

    Bomb was created to deter India from attacking Pakistan as it has been proven time and again. Yes Mr. Hoodbhoy have you forgotten that India attacked former East Pakistan to create Bangladesh! Yes had the bomb as a deter-ant been there then, India would not have taken that option, as it did not exercise the military option many times later.

    Mr. Hoodbhoy, the miserable state of your country is because of your internal political & military corruptions, uneducated leadership and total mismanagement of financial resources, and not because of the bomb

    Why don’t you tell the world that if we reduce the government size by 50% to 1970 levels our financial house will be in order. You seem to be one of those people who would sit and write a article if we are attacked and destroyed, again proving your pen’s might by saying, “Pakistan should have produced and used the bomb” …………and now you know why the bomb is needed. Enjoy your stay in Islamabad.Recommend

  • Anwar
    Jun 3, 2011 - 2:28AM

    Read “How the Indian Backed Mukti Bahani Killed 1 million Biharis”. Many of the pictures we see today of the “devastating Pakistani Army in East Pakistan” were infact Biharis and West Pakistanis who were murdered by the Mukti Bahani. Sharmila Bose has done extensive research into this. As for the bomb, it keeps our neighbour at bay. Lets not forget Mr Hoodbhoy they started this Cold War not us. So kindly keep your anti-Pakistani sentiments to yourself – it’s a very good possibility that East Pakistan would still be here if we had the bomb in 71. India would have thought twice as hard before funding a rebel group and crossing an international border (which by the way is against International rules of engagement might I add).

    And it’s not hidden fact that a vast majority of Bengalis were wanting special autonomy from Islamabad but wanted to remain within the Pakistani dominion. It was our neighbour who took it to a whole new level, but worry not what they did in 71 is hardly anything to cry over, especially considering the fact our ISI and Bangaldesh are working just as hard is making sure Assam, Nagaland and Manipur are free before the decade is out.

    Pakistan ZindabadRecommend

    Jun 3, 2011 - 10:23AM

    I agree with Mr. Anwar in totality. With the passage of time facts have been distorted by certain pro India Bengalies to cover up the brutalities of India backed Mukti Bahini. As for as Pakistan’s nuclear capability is concerned it has helped us in maintaining peace in the subcontinent. It has been a bit uneasy peace which will remain so till the resolution of Kashmir dispute. Unfortunately Mr. Hoodbhai has fixed ideas on this issue which always tend to ignore the ground realities and the threats faced by Pakistan. He has been further encouraged to propagate his phony ideas by his admirers in India and the US who are seen in Pakistan as the enemies of country’s strong defensive capability. The praise which has been lavishly showered on him by the well known quarters, for toeing a philosophy based on the so called high moral ground and bomb versus poverty alleviation without ensuring your survival as a sovereign state , has further hardened his stance which is not likely to be changed with even the strongest possible argument. Recommend

  • J Oberoi
    Jun 3, 2011 - 11:47AM

    One of the two countries will implode under the sheer weight of military spending. I know who I’ll put my money on. Reagan proved that his policy of upping military spending really worked. You don’t have to fight a war – just keep buying more arms. When the economically weaker enemy tries to keep up, that’s when the seams start to show. Recommend

  • Saif
    Jun 3, 2011 - 2:58PM

    Very true and very well written.

    I remember talking to a Bengali in London a couple of years ago and asked him how he feels about the separation of East and West Pakistan. He replied, “before the 1947 partition, we were the slaves of British Army and after 1947 we became slaves of the Punjab Regiment (West Pakistan) and hence I am very happy to be Bengali and not a Pakistani”Recommend

  • mussarat hussain
    Jun 3, 2011 - 9:56PM

    @Saif: I still remember I was talking to a Bengali in New York few years ago. Since I was raised in the Former East Pakistan and could speak bengali very fluently, my brother from Bangladesh in return said ” I love you if you are a muslim but hate if you are from Pakistan”.

    To his response earth slipped from my beneath as I made my way in utmost irky and confused situation thinking those created Pakistan are today hate Pakistani but why?.

    Probably Pakistani establishment knows the answer better than me.


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