Scientists, our kind

Published: November 28, 2010
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The writer is director at the South Asia Free Media Association, Lahore 
khaled.ahmed@tribune.com.pk

The writer is director at the South Asia Free Media Association, Lahore [email protected]

Dr AQ Khan is an extremely gifted person, which is no surprise as he gave us the nuclear bomb. He is also outspoken, so much so that the state and the courts have to keep him out of circulation lest someone kidnaps him and tells him to speak. He is multi-dimensional as a person.

He wrote in Jang that his ancestors came down from Tirah in Khyber Agency and settled in Bhopal in central India. His mother was from Tirah while his father was an Uzbek who came to India with Sultan Shahabuddin Ghauri and defeated the Hindu Rajput ruler, Prithvi Raj. Dr Khan cleverly named his missile Ghauri after India named its missile Prithvi!

Do nuclear scientists believe in miracles? Dr Khan stated that in 1812, when the Marathas and the Rajputs attacked the state of Bhopal and the ruler could not fend off the invaders, the prime minister went to a majzub (religious person in trance) who pointed to a place where miraculously a lot of weapons were discovered.

Editor Khushnood Ali Khan, writing in Jinnah, stated that Dr Khan was his neighbour in Islamabad and was kind to him. At one function, he placed his hand on his shoulder and said there were only two Khans in Pakistan: one was Dr AQ Khan, the father of the bomb, and the other was Khushnood Ali Khan. The Khan left out was Imran Khan.

Dr Khan rates ghairat (honour) a high virtue of the state. It is an unscientific concept but he uses it to communicate with the nation. He wrote in Jang that many admired him for discussing the great national habit of ghairat (honour). The opposite of ghairat was be-ghairati or shamelessness — not having honour was equal to not having purity. Ayub Khan took Pakistan on the path of be-ghairati, a trend that was now firmly rooted in the habit of taking foreign help with a begging bowl.

Columnist Irfan Siddiqi wrote in Jang that he was in Doha when the tidings of Dr Khan’s liberation from house arrest “came flying on the saddled back of the breezes of spring (bad-e-bahari) and converted the desert of the heart into an orchard of great perfection (chamanistan).”

If a scientist is European or Hindu he will be restricted in his vision by reason. A Muslim scientist has unlimited scope; he will relate his science to miracles, mostly performed by himself. Sultan Bashiruddin, our top enrichment expert, believed he could draw electricity from a captured jinn. (For Pakistan’s needs just one jinn would suffice.) Pakistan’s current top nuclear scientist Dr Samar Mubarak Mand has revealed the same ‘miracle’ symptom.

According to journalist Abbas Athar in Daily Express, Dr Mand told an audience that once when he was in Kharan organising the nuclear test he found that Allah had put a miracle murgha (chicken) in the pot from where everyone was eating. After feeding 183 people the murgha was still crowding the pot. He had bought only five chickens. Athar Abbas thought Pakistan should have more degchi (pots) from Dr Mand to produce endless chicken.

What use is a rational scientist? Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, who wrote his first book on Islamist scientists thinking he was making fun of them, learned to his dismay that the country believed them, not him. Another rationalist scientist, Dr AH Nayyar, was recently given a verbal drubbing on TV by intellectuals rejecting his critique of the toxic textbooks being read by schoolchildren.

If we make Dr Khan our next president it will be like India making Dr Abdul Kalam its president; only our Dr Khan will have ghairat.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (30)

  • Bilal
    Nov 28, 2010 - 12:46AM

    Dr AQ Khan ===> President ……. Fantastic idea! :)

    INSHALLAHRecommend

  • Waleed Khan
    Nov 28, 2010 - 12:50AM

    Brilliant article ,Sir. hats off to you. Although i despair that you might become a target for the ghairatmand nuclear smuggling supporters.

    When a nation would give all credit of something that was achieved by a TEAM of scientists leading whom was Munir A.Khan for the almost entirety of the program – who instead died an obscure death , to an attention seeking and media savy gentleman hell bent on taking the credit to himself . There is not much hope from this way ward nation. Who inspite of his nuclear proliferation activities is still revered a ‘hero’

    Although articles and people like you certainly give hope. Recommend

  • faraz
    Nov 28, 2010 - 1:13AM

    Actually Dr Khan wants to remain in the lime light. He always says things which people love to listen like ridiculous stories of some mythical king, glorifying few bright moments of our history although they are irrelevant in present times etc. An honest critique of islamic history would not make him popular in the masses. And the most efficient way to gain public attention is to somehow connect science with religion. Just like popular politics, this is popular science. Recommend

  • Dr. Altaf ul Hassan
    Nov 28, 2010 - 2:36AM

    Now this is the mindset which governs him to pass the kind of statements which we read every day.Infact he has the mindset of an invader who invaded India and although it happend in 1812 AD but despite being born in this part of subcontinent he is emotionally attached to Tirah and Uzbekistan from here his ancesters were descended some 200 years back and still considers these to be his motherland.

    This article also explians the fact that the true heores belonging to the motherland of subcontinent of India or Pakistan who fought aginst the invaders are in fact villains in the dictionary of Dr. Khan and the people who own his mindset and vice versa which is why he named his missile ghauri.He could have named it to a local hero of the motherland of pakistan at least like Rashid Minhas or Major Aziz Bhatti or any one else who has laid down his life to achieve this noble cause.Recommend

  • Nov 28, 2010 - 4:01AM

    Homer Simpson Doh moment!Recommend

  • Samuel
    Nov 28, 2010 - 8:41AM

    Ghairat and Bi-gharity is just so overrated in our society. I felt I was reading an article on MEDIEVAL ALCHEMY practised in the present age. What buffoonery.Recommend

  • man with ghairat
    Nov 28, 2010 - 9:24AM

    somebody sold nuclear weapon from pakistan.
    whether somebody else was involved or not but dr.khan was involved.
    he could have said “no” and resigned or face conequences whatever they were = ghairat
    sell the weapon underppressure or money = beghairti
    you decide.Recommend

  • ARIM
    Nov 28, 2010 - 9:25AM

    What was the point? Defaming AH Nayyar, Pervez Hudbhoy or prasing Dr AQ khan and Dr Mand?

    Dr Mand’s incident was really weird. I don’t think one can believe it…Recommend

  • Dr. Altaf ul Hassan
    Nov 28, 2010 - 10:53AM

    Now this is the mindset which governs him to pass the kind of statements which we read every day.Infact he has the mindset of an invader who invaded India and although it happend in 1812 AD but despite being born in this part of subcontinen…t he is emotionally attached to Tirah and Uzbekistan from here his ancesters were descended some 200 years back and still considers these to be his motherland.

    This article also explians the fact that the true heores belonging to the motherland of subcontinent of India or Pakistan who fought aginst the invaders are in fact villains in the dictionary of Dr. Khan and the people who own his mindset and vice versa which is why he named his missile ghauri.He could have named it to a local hero of the motherland of Pakistan at least like Rashid Minhas or Major Aziz Bhatti or any one else who has laid down his life to achieve this noble cause or any other one who has been a pride of this piece of land which we call Pakistan like Dr. Abdus Salam,the only noble prize winner of our motherland.

    It is our trageday that in the post-partition era,history was written in a way that those who invaded our motherland and slaughtered thousands of people over here were declared heroes and those who came in their way to stop them and sacrificed their lives by defending our motherland were declared villains.

    We should attach due respects to these brave people if we consider “Pakistan First”.Recommend

  • Raheel
    Nov 28, 2010 - 11:30AM

    It’s funny…..subject to the place you are observing it from…..lolRecommend

  • parvez
    Nov 28, 2010 - 2:41PM

    @man with ghairat – has a good point.
    One would have expected better from Mr.Khaled Ahmed.Recommend

  • Sonam Shyam
    Nov 28, 2010 - 3:03PM

    I wish to state that people in Pakistan should brush up their knowledge(or the lack of it) when it comes to naming of short range Indian missile “Prithvi”. Prithvi is a Sanskrit word meaning “Earth” and earth, we all know is one of the five elements, rest being Water, Space, Fire and Wind. So the Indian missile “Prithvi” is named after the element “Earth” and not after the name of Rajput King Prithviraj Chauhan. There are other Indian missiles like “Agni” which means Fire in Sanskrit and “Akaash” which means “Sky” in Sanskrit etc. Therefore all these missiles are not named after any particular person. Kindly update yourself regarding the above mentioned facts. Recommend

  • Masroor Bangesh
    Nov 28, 2010 - 4:28PM

    As a person working in a natural science discipline, I am a curious observer of trends in local scientific communities. It is interesting that even the serious members of scientific and academic circles have very weird notions about science, which actually fly in face of
    globally established scientific practices and concepts. AQK, a regular ranter in an urdu daily, is no different. I remember a discussion with a senior professor of mathematics, in which Prof. Sahib informed me that miracles (karamat) of saints (aulia-ollah) are dealt with in a sub-branch of physics which is called, he disclosed to my stupefying amazement, metaphysics.
    Since then I am a great deal enlightened to understand as to why even science, the conqueror of east and west, is ineffective in this country. Recommend

  • Patriot
    Nov 28, 2010 - 8:17PM

    who is the real father of Pakistani nuclear program…Dr. Qadeer or Dr. Munir…. read and decide
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MunirAhmadKhan

    the biggest unsung hero of pakistan unlike the media hungry Dr. Qadeer!!Recommend

  • Nov 28, 2010 - 8:36PM

    Ayub Khan took Pakistan on the path of be-ghairati, a trend that was now firmly rooted in the habit of taking foreign help with a begging bowl.

    AQ Khan was on the lookout for the required equipment along with materials. Do I need to remind you that the bomb would not have reached fruition without AQ Khan taking the begging bowl to China?

    If we make Dr Khan our next president it will be like India making Dr Abdul Kalam its president; only our Dr Khan will have ghairat.

    The Merchant of Death aka AQ Khan is a shrewd businessman. Instead of leading an ordinary life in the west as an engineer with a decent salary, he stole nuclear secrets and took them home and then setup the world’s worst nuclear proliferation network with Pakistan as the base. Where’s the ghairat in that? Everyone knows that the Islamic bomb cannot be used, lest we want absolutely nothing to grow on Pakistan’s soil for centuries. And that means the bomb is as useless as a torn shoe. Unless it falls into the hands of ‘non-state actors’ and the world has a headache worrying about it. Bottomline is that Khan made a nifty fortune for himself out of shady nuclear deals, plus the free propaganda he gets from the not-so-intellectuals who keep showering him with the praise of a national hero. If Pakistan’s ghairat is in eliminating the begging bowl, I don’t how see getting a bomb has helped.Recommend

  • Anis Qureshi
    Nov 28, 2010 - 9:35PM

    AQ khan is not our hero. He is an opportunist and political person who wants to cash the hard work of other scientists of pakistan. He is a liar and has been invoved in land grabbing. He has only brought bad to pakistan in world. He does not qualify to be our hero instead our hero should be Dr. abdussalam who brought honours and good name to counrty and who is the fatherhead of atomic energy and other good scientific institutions of pakistan.Recommend

  • R. Raheem
    Nov 28, 2010 - 9:58PM

    A.Q Khan as president please don’t make me laugh! President A.Q.Khan will sell the country in pieces to Iran, North Korea, Libya & similar roque countries.Recommend

  • Shahzad
    Nov 28, 2010 - 10:37PM

    Khaled Sahab, Such an interesting but true satire on the scientific Mullahs of Pakistan… Recommend

  • Mahvesh
    Nov 28, 2010 - 10:52PM

    Disregarding reason and rationality doesn’t make it irrational, it makes YOU irrational. And going by this logic, a so called non-Muslim and Ahmedi, who achieved the only Nobel in Pakistan’s history, would be deemed unimportant and immaterial.

    Good job, sir. Recommend

  • Aurangya
    Nov 28, 2010 - 11:10PM

    People,
    Please google before commenting. Prithvi Raj in 1812? Really? Hilarious.Recommend

  • Anoop
    Nov 29, 2010 - 12:03AM

    OMG. Hats off to Pakistani scientists.

    I wonder how can a metallurgist become a nuclear scientist. Only in Pakistan.Recommend

  • sobriquet
    Nov 29, 2010 - 12:33AM

    @Khaled Ahmed: you wrote: “…the courts have to keep him out of circulation lest someone kidnaps him and tells him to speak.” Your implication that AQ Khan only speaks when he is told to do so, makes him seem like a puppet—any kidnapper’s puppet. Recommend

  • saher
    Nov 29, 2010 - 11:32AM

    what was this.. an essay on AQKhan?? :s kindly refrain from making people a a laughing stock when u write abt them without any research and especially try not to justify religion by science. and asking just in by the way manner.. was the article supposed to be a satire?? as there are hardly any renowned muslim scientists… we had abdussalaam but we also refuse him credit because of his religious preference.. weird.
    the muslim world has only two nobel laureates who are scienitst.. Dr. Abdussalam and Ahmed H. Zewail. Recommend

  • Sheikh Sarmad
    Nov 29, 2010 - 5:47PM

    These so called scientists who believe in jinnies, bhoots, miracle chickens etc are devoid of rational thinking. And Dr A Q Khan is a metalugist and was responsible for self enrichment with uranium enrichment…!….Well done Khalid Sahib as always !Recommend

  • Nov 29, 2010 - 6:37PM

    O yes! President because they all met good fate!

    Dr AQ Khan betrayed Pakistan by timing the Low Fission Nuclear Device explosion in respect to World Government’s ‘balance of power’ with India in 1998,while on the other side they exploded High Fission Device and jumped to Computers…. Recommend

  • Kutta Burger
    Nov 29, 2010 - 8:21PM

    Great piece, Khaled sb!!

    Unfortunate that so many missed the point of the article. Even worse how science is treated in this country.Recommend

  • Neeraj, India
    Nov 29, 2010 - 11:44PM

    Khalid sahib, you never disappoint, great piece of writing indeed! It came as a great relief to know that the jinnhs could produce electricity!! But why not? After all, Alauddin’s jinnh produced everything instantaneously! Let us catch few of them and problems of the sub-continent will be over for ever!
    Sir, please settle in India and write for us, we are really getting bored with our ‘serious writers’. You would be a great replacement for our grand old( or young) man of Indian journalism Shri, Khushwant Singhji. Recommend

  • nadeem fazil
    Nov 29, 2010 - 11:54PM

    Thanks Khaled Sb, I think it were you who gave Dr Qadeer the annual award of “most self-effacing individual” (satirically of course) in an annual issue of your magazine, a year after he was proclaimed as the hero. Jinn & murgha stories are real masaalaa.Recommend

  • Arachnid
    Nov 30, 2010 - 10:38AM

    Columnist Irfan Siddiqi wrote in Jang that he was in Doha when the tidings of Dr Khan’s liberation from house arrest “came flying on the saddled back of the breezes of spring (bad-e-bahari) and converted the desert of the heart into an orchard of great perfection (chamanistan).”

    I love you, Khaled Ahmed.

    p.s. You owe me a keyboard, I just laughed out half my morning cup of tea on it.Recommend

  • Gulzar khan
    Jan 8, 2011 - 10:23AM

    I think from From Butto to Musharraf every one said that AQ khan was the father of nuclear bomb. Now he is being discreditedby every one. AQ khan does have have a jinn, he made nuclear device with a team of thousands of engineers.He was the head . He was the brain. Yes, he is not that quiet type recluse hiding and doing research only. But this may may have to do with our politicians. They should have not let him become a politician.
    In Pakistan either some one a hero or zero.Recommend

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