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N. Korea follows Indo-Pakistan

Updated Feb 13, 2016 08:58am


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The writer teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.
The writer teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.

America is fuming, South Korea and Japan are terrified, Russia is worried, and China is miffed. North Korea’s podgy pudding-and-pie leader Kim Jong-un has poked them all in the eye. Earlier this week, defying their threats and refusing their cajolements, he oversaw the launch of a ballistic missile — one with the longest range so far. State television showed him beaming from jowl to jowl, his generals chortling with joy, and a crowd in Pyongyang in strictly disciplined celebration.

It doesn’t really matter that the satellite put into orbit by the Unha-3 missile is a piece of useless junk. After all, the real point was to show it has developed — or is close to developing — an ICBM capable of reaching the continental United States. Last month, North Korea had falsely claimed to have tested a massive hydrogen fusion bomb. (It appears to have been a much smaller boosted fission device.) Again, the real point was to provoke and to proclaim that North Korea is utterly determined to be a nuclear power. As things stand presently, nothing short of an all-out invasion and catastrophic war can now prevent North Korea from fulfilling its ambitions.

Nuke-missile extravaganzas don’t come cheap. Who but the poor must foot the bill?

With a new member set to join the nuclear club, shouldn’t Indians and Pakistanis be glad for North Korea and lay out the red carpet? Both countries have always said that going nuclear is any country’s God-given right. Both had (separately) celebrated — wildly and with abandon — when India tested five bombs on May 11, 1998 and Pakistan followed suit 17 days later with six of its own. Both said going nuclear made them great. They still say that.

That’s stupid. Once upon a time making bombs and missiles did raise the pecking order of a country. But if one follows this logic today then North Korea, whose population is eight times smaller than Pakistan’s and 40 times smaller than India’s, stands head and shoulders above both South Asian countries. It has survived much harsher international sanctions and has no friends. Like Pakistan and India, North Korea is also incapable of providing its people with stable electricity, universal sanitation, and clean water.

Nuke-missile extravaganzas don’t come cheap. Who but the poor must foot the bill? The United Nations reports chronic malnutrition in North Korean children under five — 33pc overall and 45pc in the northern part of the country. South Korea, which shares a common language and a common border, has a per capita GNP that is 15 times larger. Even China, which keeps North Korea from starvation and economic collapse, seems fed up with its problematic neighbour.

Read: North Korea executes army chief of staff: South Korean media

Like Pakistan and India, North Korea demonstrates another truth: the poorer a nuclear country, the richer its generals and politicians. Even as North Koreans are slipping back into subsistence farming and 19th-century manual labour, a tiny elite thrives. They drive their Mercedes, play with smartphones, and eat at fancy pizza parlours. It was once a communist state that valued equality. But strident militarism, and strict loyalty to the political hierarchy, has created tolerance of wealth disparity.

Nuclear nationalism has worked well to stoke patriotic fires in all three countries. Remember those heady days of 1998 when India proclaimed its arrival on the world stage as a nuclear power? And when Pakistan strutted about excitedly as the first nuclear power in the Muslim world? Bomb-makers in both countries thumped their chests, and people showered rose petals on the ‘great’ nuclear scientists. There could be no greater nonsense. Half-starved North Korea, with zero achievement in high science, has shown that in the modern age anyone can make bombs and missiles.

How did that become possible? Unquestionably the first atomic bomb was an exceedingly brilliant, if terrible, achievement by the world’s finest physicists. It required the creation of wholly new physical concepts, based on a then very newly acquired understanding of the atomic nucleus.

But a few decades later, the scene was totally different. Basic information became freely available in technical libraries everywhere. A staggering amount of detail exists on the internet. Advanced textbooks and monographs contain details that can enable practically anyone with a few years of university education to come up with “quick and dirty” designs. Graduate students can quickly pick up this stuff.

The free availability of cheap but extremely powerful computers, as well as numerical codes, allows one to see how a bomb’s power changes as one changes sizes and shapes, purity of materials, etc. In contrast, the early bomb calculations had been painfully carried out by hand. Today’s pocket calculator, worth barely Rs500, has more computational power than the room-sized early vacuum-tube computers worth millions of dollars.

Ditto for rocket technology. North Korea has the Unha and Nodong. Pakistan has the Shaheen and Ghauri, while India has the Agni and Prithvi. These nuclear-tipped missiles can fly far and each can destroy a city. But making them is pretty routine. Rocketry cookbooks tell you how various modular units are to be assembled together. Computers have vastly simplified the design of engines, aerodynamic surfaces, fins etc.

Examine: India can increase fissile material stocks through NSG waiver, says foreign secretary

These days anyone can buy GPS units costing a few hundred dollars to determine position coordinates. Similar units can guide a missile launched from thousands of kilometres away to better than 50 metres accuracy. No longer is rocket science a correct expression for high science. The rounds of congratulations by our generals and presidents to ‘rocket scientists’ after every missile test are misplaced.

Bravo, North Korea! You have faithfully followed South Asia down the nuclear and missile gutter. State propaganda machines everywhere have successfully fooled gullible populations into lauding these ‘achievements’. Yes, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had threatened to make Pakistanis eat grass but only you had the guts to force an entire population to actually eat it. Your nuclear ambitions have deprived millions of a decent life, and hundreds of thousands of North Koreans are locked up in your wretched prisons. My congratulations to Kim Jong-un and others of the Kim dynasty. May they all rot in hell.

The writer teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.

Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2016

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (119) Closed

sajjad Feb 13, 2016 07:15am

Thank you teacher. Zero achievers in high science can make atomic bomb! It is seven decades since atomic bomb was first used. So making atomic bomb is not something we should cheer about.

M Feb 13, 2016 07:37am

I have a question for Dr. Hoodbhoy. In the article, you suggest that the tools of rocket-technology (like computers and GPS for guidance of the missile) have become much cheaper than in early days, and later you suggest that to become nuclear, countries (poor people) pay enormous cost. My question is, how much do you think the total cost for a country to go to nuclear/obtain missile technology-- approximately? Is it billions of dollars?

Overall it is very sad that these tools are being forced on humanity..

Hassan Feb 13, 2016 07:42am

Honest Analysis. Very well pen down.

M M AMIN ( old Ravian ) Feb 13, 2016 07:45am

Prof. Sir , brilliant as always . The hints on the nuke technology leave one in apprehension : would the nonproliferation regime collapse? And how could the world be saved from the self righteous? And would the optimism of Duch philosopher Eramus hold : " folly is perennial and yet the mankind has survived " . As for the starving millions in the three countries ,they , unfortunately, are just numbers ! Gun fodder for the politicians !

Shekar Feb 13, 2016 08:07am

We have become capable of seeing the gravity waves created at unbelievable distance of time & space. May I plead the people in powerful positions to read this & see where they are taking their own people? Will you please use your opportunity & do SOMETHING to better your own people before your time runs out. Salute Sri. Pervez Hoodbhoy, for holding mirror to our capabilities & actions.

a_writer Feb 13, 2016 08:17am

Another brilliant and brutally honest expose of the stupidity of human nature.

Ghazanfar Sanpal Feb 13, 2016 08:29am

Agree, however, how about those who divided Korea Peninsula into N & S to keep their hegemony in this part of the world?

Kp Feb 13, 2016 08:36am

Circus clowns (Ind/Pak) making sure the world is laughing at their stupidity.

A. Friend Feb 13, 2016 08:43am

Both were partitioned to create nations divided against themselves!!

Zak Feb 13, 2016 08:44am

N Korea has friends , we understand what N Korea is going through , because we were in the same position once, our sympathies lie with them , We are happy with the achievement of N Korea and are working closely with them in all spheres.

Sajjad Hussain Gopang Feb 13, 2016 09:03am

Nuclear Power - A deterrence or Misery?

Proud Pakistani Feb 13, 2016 09:17am

@Zak are you from another universe? seem to always be happy and say the complete opposite of the right things dawn says......maybe you are those trolls who make stupid remarks and think they are very clever

taimoor khan Feb 13, 2016 09:18am

Author should know that all things have advantages and disadvantages associated with it, Pakistan has survived due to nuclear weapons, we have a bargaining chip with us, US has different policy with Pakistan compared to Iraq,Syria,Afghanistan , why what is the difference between these nations and Pakistan, Pakistan has nuclear power and these countries don't , countries without nuclear power bite the dust, while Pakistan has survived and thrived due to nuclear weapons.

Anil Jadhav Feb 13, 2016 09:24am

Well written, virtual world lost its virtue and eventually the ability of human race to come out of it , shall determine it survival.

yet another Indian Sri1 Feb 13, 2016 09:24am

@Ghazanfar Sanpal ' however, how about those who divided Korea Peninsula into N & S to keep their hegemony'

It takes knowledge and wisdom for nations to take perspective from the past and move forward into the future - not to keep themselves in the past bemoaning history's iniquities. Japan and Germany have let go of their past and the need for revenge, just like India and Indians have let go of the harmful aspects of British and Mutual subjugations, to forge forward into more positive and hopeful futures.

Zak Feb 13, 2016 09:28am

@Proud Pakistani I am not from another Universe , i reside in laughlin ,US and I don't agree Dawn is correct on this one, Pakistan and N Korea are best friends and we have very close relationship, Pakistan is respected around the world and safe because of nuclear weapons, our sovereignty is intact because of it.

Ron Feb 13, 2016 09:35am

Very well written and brutal truth to India and Pakistan Governments. First improve basic needs of the population and develop the infrastructure in the country,instead of wasting resources in going nuclear just for namesake.

Ali Feb 13, 2016 09:36am

If India had been able to defend itself against European and British colonialism in the seventeen and eighteenth centuries then the population of current sub continent countries would not be living in abject poverty. This is a reality clearly lost on the writer of the analysis,

vS Feb 13, 2016 09:39am

Dr Hoodbhoy,

I am an Indian and want to say that this was one of the most thought provoking articles that I have read. Thank you!

Rustom E Hind Feb 13, 2016 09:44am

first time I disagree with pervez saab

ayaz khan Feb 13, 2016 09:49am

@Zak both are natural allies as both are doing extremely bad on human development front but feeling great by making some useless toys

krishan gopal Feb 13, 2016 09:55am

It is always a delight to read Dr Hoodbhoy...

R S Chakravarti Feb 13, 2016 09:59am

@Zak "We"? Americans like you?

R S Chakravarti Feb 13, 2016 10:00am

I respect Prof Hoodbhoy's views

Zak Feb 13, 2016 10:01am

@R S Chakravarti I maybe residing in US , but my heart belongs here, in Pakistan, just like all non resident Pakistanis around the world.

IRFAN Feb 13, 2016 10:03am

Great Sir! the major televisions should host a program regularly to show public this dark side of arm race instead of futile political n other debates!

Amandeep singh virk Feb 13, 2016 10:05am

North Korea and Pakistan's condition is same but same is not with as India is rapidly growing despite all these disagree with your article

N K Ali Feb 13, 2016 10:14am

Wow! Mr. Hoodbhoy, you have candidly and without mincing words slammed PINK (Pakistan, India, N. Korea). This has become a Hobson's Choice? We have got mired in a grimy slush of debts, bad governance, terrorism (all types), and economic stagnation. Thanks to both sides honoring the muk muka. Salams

Asad Rafique Feb 13, 2016 10:48am

Totally 100 % disagreement with you Mr.Pervez Hoodbhoy.

Satt Feb 13, 2016 10:58am

What North Korea is to South Korea Pakistan is to India.

JP Feb 13, 2016 11:04am

@Zak Can I visit this alternate dimension you speak of? Or do you just have inter-dimensional Internet?

Realist Feb 13, 2016 11:05am

@Proud Pakistani Or may be he understands how things are. Nuclear weapons is the only reason you are not seeing an M1 Abrams tank parked near you.

Mayuresh Feb 13, 2016 11:06am

Dr., I am really fan of your articles. Really this was the bigger picture well put in the words. Thanks. Namaskaar from India. :)

imtiaz ali Feb 13, 2016 11:35am

great article......sir ,priorities make the difference between nations.

Indiana Janardhan Feb 13, 2016 11:49am

The similarity between 2 Koreas and Indo-Pak go beyond that. In the past both combined have fought against the external oppression. Indo- Pak against Brits and both Koreas against Japanese invasion in 1592. One has democracy, other has autocracy. One is poor, other is doing financially good. One has his own vision, other is fixated on its neighbor.

Enlightened Feb 13, 2016 12:01pm

The analysis is good. But starving your population is certainly a better option than leaving it on the mercy of rogue NATO and the U.S. bombers. Look at the nuke-less, leaderless Middle East, for example. Annihilation.

Tech Gs Feb 13, 2016 12:08pm

@ZAK - You are non entity in wiser world.

Thank you Dawn for publishing wise words from Parvez Hoodbhoy.

We all hope and pray that may god give wisdom to Pakistan & India rulers.

Zak Feb 13, 2016 01:01pm

Yes, no harm in North korea becoming Nucleuar power when it is constantly threatened day and night by US followed by chumcha South Korea. Stop threatening, they will stop arming. Simple. Every action has a reaction. India exploded Nucleuar devices, pakistan reacted. Kill the source, eliminate the problem. Attack the initiator not the reactor.

A.s.murthy Feb 13, 2016 01:12pm

Excellent ---Sir.

Shah Rukh Hashmi Feb 13, 2016 01:17pm

Please find a controversy and alleged charges for treason in this piece, sadly I couldn't. Superb piece .

RJM Feb 13, 2016 01:24pm

India is not in the league of the either Pakistan or N.Korea. But point taken...

Afridi Feb 13, 2016 01:32pm

@Zak respect to you from all my heart. May you live long.

Akram Javed Kayani Feb 13, 2016 01:46pm

Would you please also include in your analysis the state of countries that gave up nuclear weapons and how did they fare? How is Ukraine and Libya doing?

vinay Feb 13, 2016 01:59pm

noble article! when will humanity take lessons from history ?

Onkar Sharma Feb 13, 2016 02:15pm

The few saner voices from the Indian Sub-continent. Are those in powerful positions have the intelligence, education and sense and sensibilities to grasp the points Dr. Hoodbhoy makes.

RA Feb 13, 2016 03:12pm

Don't think that China is miffed, they are instrumental in what is happening in N.Korea as they want N.Korea to keep S.Korea, Japan and US tied up in that region. Is there any way N.Korea could survive without Chinese help.

MAS Feb 13, 2016 04:02pm

@Zak how about coming home then? Or is the lack of electricity, healthcare and education a strong deterrent to making that move? Maybe if the money spent on developing the Atom Bum had been spent on developing the country, we could have been greater. Nations are not respected for their bombs but for what they represent, and the values they develop socially and culturally. You proudly state you live in US, why? Help me understand, why not in Pakistan where you claim your heart belongs?

Shehzad khan Feb 13, 2016 05:01pm

I think we have to act in the present.we need to b vigilant and realistic about the world and its affairs.too mch idealism will really damage us back.

Rohit Feb 13, 2016 05:13pm

Great article. Shows the need for sober thinking from nuclear zealot. One correction required in the article- India did her first nuclear test in 1974, not in 1998.

Nasiroski Feb 13, 2016 05:31pm

People of South Korea will have to rise, just like people in sub continent will have to rise against he shackles of extremism (religious and other, but mostly religious).

Worth_Commenting Feb 13, 2016 05:31pm

@Amandeep singh virk North Korea is similar to Pakistan?? Now that is news to me. Sir, could you enlighten me on even one aspect where this is true. Is it the form of government, land area, economic potential, ideology, political relations, geography, anything...?? If you cannot come up with a reasonable answer, I suggest you not make uninformed comments. Thank you and have a great day.

Farhan Khalid Feb 13, 2016 05:41pm

West made it against Japan. China made it against US? India made it against China? Pak made it against India? N Korea made it against West? This is an evil cycle.

Japan is the only affectee of this evil and it did not pursue to acquire it after WW2. Because it actually knows the price.

N Korea's frenzy might be making Japan to rethink about it.

rahat Feb 13, 2016 06:04pm

what drain the US, UK, Russia followed when they developed their nuclear weapons? in fact no body, including the self proclaimed policemen of the world, should have weapons of mass destruction.

raj Feb 13, 2016 07:25pm

Professor, I like the last sentence. A nice article.

Kamal Feb 13, 2016 07:25pm

Always a pleasure to read prof Saab. One thing if making a bomb is so easy now a days how come no. Non state actor has achieved it? Surely it isn't because of lack of effort.

Human Feb 13, 2016 07:40pm

@Satt its the opposite actually ....India launched its nuclear program long before Pakistan did ,SAME WITH NORTH KOREA WHO TESTED MISSILES WHEN S KOEA DIDNT POSSESS NUKES

BRIJ Feb 13, 2016 07:47pm

The Article wrongly clubs India with Pakistan and North Korea. See India's soft power, economic powers, rich Ancient past, vibrant democracy, narrower gap between rich and poor, honest Govt., Independent Judicial system and rule of law.

ramdar Feb 13, 2016 07:57pm

Professor, I appreciate your concerns but your criticism of India is unfair. -India would not have gone for Nuclear weapons but for threat of China, which claimed & used military force to take over Indian territory. - India has declared 'No first use' & voluntary Moratorium on further tests, also limited its weapons to bare minimum.

karan Feb 13, 2016 08:04pm


You must be the only individual celebrating this mad achievement. Becuase the rest of the world isn't.

Amit Feb 13, 2016 08:05pm

Nothing but the truth.

Patrick Feb 13, 2016 08:13pm

@Ghazanfar Sanpal The South Koreans are grateful to the US and allied troops that repelled Chinese and North Korea aggression in the Korean War

farid Feb 13, 2016 08:30pm

Countries like North Korea has no place in modern society.

Shahwani Feb 13, 2016 08:47pm

100% true.

Zalim Feb 13, 2016 08:52pm

Good luck to North Korea!

Farhan Khalid Feb 13, 2016 08:54pm

@ramdar Pakistan finds no guarantee that India's nukes will never use against it. So, it has to make its own for deterrence

Keti Zilgish Feb 13, 2016 09:50pm

The realization and identification of sado-masochistic extremism through muckraking ought to be followed up by a positive humility to be able to learn and move ahead from the experiences of miseries successfully or otherwise tackled by others.

Mr.Mirror Feb 13, 2016 09:56pm

@Zak yes Zak, I may be living in villa and eating continental food but my hearts always go for poor. even I donate leftovers.

sk Feb 13, 2016 09:56pm

the author has actually touched false ego maintained by few as Nuke power. Yes, North Korea ignited ambitions of many others to follow the line and it could be a real big trouble for the world. Real power is refusing to be in the same order & remain focused in the development and progress of the region & its countrymen.

Mustafa R. Feb 13, 2016 10:06pm

Hahahaha. North Korea is not following South Asia but USA down the rat hole.

Keti Zilgish Feb 13, 2016 10:12pm

The Japanese and the Germans have been lucky enough to have inadvertently been forced to harness the patience required to somewhat tackle the dilemmas enumerated and so beautifully enunciated in the writings of this learned author.

Ayer Feb 13, 2016 10:34pm

The last world war was a conventional war but was costliest in terms of human lives.It is Nuclear weapons and the the theory of Mutually Assured Destruction which actually prevented another war between NATO and Warsaw Pact during the Cold War. So nuclear weapons have achieved a certain detente

BRILLIANT LOGIC Feb 13, 2016 10:38pm

I support North a damn to your Sole Superpower, the puppet United Nations and the like. It is the new Cuba.

M.Saeed Feb 13, 2016 10:40pm

@Amandeep singh virk : You have your basic right to disagree with the plain truth and sense but, all others would simply agree to disagree with your nonsense and to purge and flush your rights.

Man getntle Feb 13, 2016 11:28pm

Endless discussion. Whatever our needs are didn't bound by nuclear progress. The country which couldn't make his own car by any collobaration is going to sell Thunder jet due to honest leader ship. Mr. Hoodbhoy could you please discuss how your beloved politician are laundering money? Zardari is one of the best winner in this race who only 100 Billion US dollar send outside from Sindh only.Where as children are dyeing in thar due to thirst and lack of food. I know you aren't brave to talk about this. Because you only discuss for what you got money, agenda and propaganda to spread disheartness. There are many other who also launder lot of Pakistani money outside. If each pole work honestly there will be no poverty here .Each will be happy and enjoying well life. So talk about what that needs to be done. or just stop bullying people who just following sheep race.

Ghaznavi Feb 13, 2016 11:29pm

Dr. Hoodbhoy takes an idealist approach. World does not follow ideals rather it is run by selfish interests of nations. How else can one explain Ghandhi's India suppressing the Kashmiris by sheer force and silence of the civilized world over over these atrocities. This is the unfortunate reason for nuclear devices brining stability to the region.

FACT KING Feb 13, 2016 11:33pm

Agree with everything; but just because its simpler to achieve means that India, Pakistan and for that matter North Korea should have nuclear technology and missiles. After all it wouldn't have made sense for these countries if this was prohibitively expensive technology.

We don't live in a world of harmony. Everyone has the God given right to defend themselves against all odds.

hasrat javed Feb 14, 2016 12:06am

Being residence of GB i salute you

gbaja biamila Feb 14, 2016 12:08am

A sane voice in an insane world.

Seedoo Feb 14, 2016 12:35am

@ramdar And it was Pakistan that Advani had only threatened immediately after exploding nuclear device, yet you guys keep falsely claiming that it was meant for China. I still remember when Advani has asked Pakistan to carefully evaluate the geostrategic balance before doing anything. Yet after Pakistan exploded the device, he came running to Pakistan to talk peace.

For some reason, Indians have a superiority complex and believe in their own false narratives "India shinning" is one such example. Just take a look at the poverty and filth inside your own country and you will see that there is nothing shinning about India. A country which send 90% of its human waste untreated into the water ways should not have the right to claim that it is shinning.

NPS Feb 14, 2016 12:44am

@Zak , it surprises me totally. You said you are living in USA. But your way of thinking seems to me very strange not up to the date. I am sorry, but it is my impression.

saythetruth Feb 14, 2016 01:11am

Insecurity is the reason behind this craziness. India, Pakistan and South Korea to take care of the poor in their countries.

Akbar Feb 14, 2016 01:37am

your analysis ignores all the history of korean people and korean peninsula.

dsdsd Feb 14, 2016 02:00am

Thanking you sir. Put it in simple words, you are brilliant. Thanks to the bad education system in India and Pakistan, unfortunately, neither Indians nor Pakistanis have the capability to grasp your point.

Zubaida khan Feb 14, 2016 02:54am

I think there is point that was left out. Before Pakistan went nuclear the total number armed forces personnel needed was in access of 600k. Within 2 years of going nuclear we were able to bring that number down below 500k. That is 100k thousand less salaries to pay over the past 25 years.

So that is one of the big pluses. Otherwise you need large armies for deterrence. Besides North Korea no other nuclear nation has starved, that includes Pakistan and India. Both countries have viable economies and sustainable growth patterns.

If you must publish you should try for some balance. Back in the 70s Pakistan was forced in a corner. Half the country was gone, India became a nuclear power, and if I remember correctly it was a common understanding that Pakistan will soon be divided with Punjab and Sindh going to India, while Balochistan and NWFP will go to Iran and Afghanistan.

We went nuclear and that did not happen.

Bn Feb 14, 2016 03:13am


Vittal Pyati Feb 14, 2016 03:25am

India developed nuclear capability as a deterrent against China. If there is another conventional war between India and Pakistan, the former will prevail. At that moment Pakistan might be tempted to use nukes. Uncle Sam with its GPS and latest technology will be closely monitoring the events and taking India into confidence will destroy all the Pakistani launch sites. Compared to US and Russia, India and Pakistan are mini nuclear states but that capability has gone to their heads.

Shahzad Feb 14, 2016 04:06am

Professor Hoodbhoy, if my memory serves me well, it was the year 1974 when India tested/conducted its first nuclear device/explosion. Please correct me in case I am wrong. Thanks & regards.

ak4pk Feb 14, 2016 04:11am

Professor, you are a gentleman scientist, you see things from that perspective. However the world reality is different, human nature since time immemorial has been one of dominance. Be it in the field of military power or economic might, the desire to rule stands unabated. Until such time this desire to rule diminishes your morality will not have many takers. It is but human nature that security however illusive comes before prosperity and I am afraid neither you nor I can change that. We need a miracle but none seems to be behind those bushes.

Chamatkar Feb 14, 2016 04:23am

Most of the Pervez Hoodbhoy articles are interesting, which include this one.I feel NK leaders Kim Jong Un not only irresponsible but dangerous, covert and open executions are continuing in NK like earlier Uncle & Aunt of Kim were executed and recently COAS of NK. S.Korea is only neighbor which NK feels enemical, and SK do not have WMD as NK has. It will be better for both Koreas to sit and sign peace agreements, the UN has already taken notice of NK actions,and world body must find what is going on in NK,and control the naughty guy of NK. I will not congrats the Kim, nor I will curse for Kim Dynasty ,like Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy.

rolland Feb 14, 2016 04:31am

Sir: Who helped North Korea acquire nuclear weapons? Remember Dr. A.Q. Khan? The Pakistani establishment in exchange for long range missile technology supplied North Korea with nuclear weapon technology.

Dr Pervez Ghaus Feb 14, 2016 04:42am

A brilliant expose of the rubbish that the proletariat are sadly fed by those in power .Tragically,they are not given the basic food,water and shelter they deserve but are brain washed into believing such abject nonsense.It is time that the long suffering populace rise against their manipulative evil masters.When there is no life one has nothing to lose.I salute you for the clarity,honesty and bravery of this article.It is food for thought.Pardon the pun.

Fazal Karim Feb 14, 2016 05:32am

If it is so easy to make an A bomb, why Iran could not do it in decades and face hardships of sanctions. Is it not correct that Pakistan bomb has proved to be a deterrent against our friendly neighbor.

Don't ask Feb 14, 2016 05:38am

@Indiana Janardhan Which one is India in that comparison?

Don't ask Feb 14, 2016 05:42am

@Kamal I don't think you can simply buy high grade uranium off the shelves of your local supermarket.

Don't ask Feb 14, 2016 05:48am

@ramdar Pakistan uses exactly the same argument except that we responded to India's nuke tests. So, we get blamed unfairly as well, here? No. India, Pakistan, China, North Korea, Russia, US (and I have left out a few other nuclear powers and wanna - bes here) would all be responsible for the slime of humanity that nukes could result in.

ISRA Feb 14, 2016 06:15am

@yet another Indian Sri1 : "just like India and Indians have let go of the harmful aspects of British and Mutual subjugations". Seriously ? !!

P Setra Feb 14, 2016 07:33am

History is evidence that with its economy in doldrums some day North Korea would fail like Soviet Union.

Agha Ata Feb 14, 2016 07:59am

I dream of a time when nations having any kind of arms would be considered backward nations.

Rajesh Feb 14, 2016 08:45am

@Proud Pakistani thankyou for writing about what I was thinking.... Actually, I was dumb struck to read that comment from Zak but chose to ignore it (knowing well about Zak's intellectual capacity) but then after reading your comment it made my day!!!!!

Rajesh Feb 14, 2016 08:49am

@Zak feel sorry for you. You need help.. Get well soon...

Shiraj Feb 14, 2016 09:00am

Nothing but Truth.

Rahul Feb 14, 2016 09:01am

Yeah and rightly said who is North Korea represented as in the example ...think

Akshay Feb 14, 2016 09:20am

I am an Indian and have developed an interest in reading your newspaper Dawn, ever since Modi visited your country. I must write that i have found many of Dawn's articles thought provoking and intellectually stimulating. You have some wonderful writers.

Akshay Feb 14, 2016 09:20am

Times of India, which is the most circulated in India and probably in world is losing its dignity by constantly posting obscene pictures of celebs. We the oriental and non-western culture give women dignity a lot of importance and I think Dawn should sugegst TOI to refrain from this. India and Pakistan may be enemies on border disputes, but when it comes to human relations and ideology, there is no border and that no border is the real border of humanity, gifted by the creator. Why not we celebrate our diversity, our values and goodness than fighting on politician made issues.. Sugegstion - To make a first attempt on writing friendship articles on India and hopefully the media will reciprocate the same. Same advice will go to Indian media as well.

Akshay Feb 14, 2016 09:21am

By constantly fighting, we are supressing huge potential of unity by love and similarity in culture. Why cant the two countries forget about the border issues (which will never be solved till the earth exists ) and get on with their cultural friendship and tourism potential. Its such a shame in 21st century when deveoped economies are focussing on innovation, we still are fighting over medieval issues than celebrating our potential for being a nation of innovations and culture. Will we see a peaceful Indo-Pak friendship in our lifetime?

Akshay Feb 14, 2016 09:30am

And my last comment is about bizzare comparison of India at the same platform that of North Korea or Pakistan in terms of science and technology. Please don't get influenced by your nationality, but have a rationalised comparison as you being a physicist rationalisation and logic is in your mind and soul. And then you will be able to see the unjust compariosn, which undermined an otherwise brilliant piece of article.

Uzair Feb 14, 2016 09:48am

Developing nations are bound to go through these phase to ensure their survival . Its true it foots the bill by poor people but life being subjugated to any foreign powsr is far more than life being poor in their own sovereign country . I am not defending N.K's approach , but acheiving minimum credible deterrence is right of everystate , special impetus for those having been through harsh past - as korea , Pakiatan and by some India had .

Talibjan Feb 14, 2016 10:36am

Brilliant as usual. The affliction of nuclear madness is pernicious. It robs the poor and poverty stricken as it devours undeclared billions which could have been spent to ameliorate their lot. It strengthens jingoistic elements in society and facilitate them to play with emotions of masses. It paves the way for eternal warmongering unceasing hostility.

Kiran Feb 14, 2016 12:04pm

Its a great article! and would make even highly educated people to think on so called Nuke achievement by our countries. Thanks for such a brilliant detailed and practical article!

Jibboo Feb 14, 2016 12:57pm

But, how did NK acquire the nuclear technology?

Timeto stopthis Feb 14, 2016 02:33pm

@taimoor khan Please look around you and see if you see yourself as a thriving and prosperous country? If you're honest you will see how completely backward and poor you still are.

Toufique Feb 14, 2016 07:43pm

Countries like N Korea, India and Pakistan are like male members of families those waste their wealth on unnecessary things like fashion and showoff. But they never think about education and health of their family members.

excuse me Feb 15, 2016 12:09am

and then face the music

patriot for the subcontinent Feb 15, 2016 01:04am

not enough clean water to drink.not enough shelter for the clean toilletts for everybody.not even basic electricity for all the people throughout the day.we have bombs to destroy the whole world many times.we claim we are advanced and civilized and boast about ourselves in these columns.we are completely oblivious to human suffering around us in the name of religion culture and patriotism.

jamshed Feb 15, 2016 06:07am

@Satt Self glory has no reci no recognition but ignorance and arrogance is deadly combination..The GDP ratio between South Korea and North Korea is 68:1 And if I had not been to India I would have believed your highly exaggerated claim about the comparison you made. But I have news : you Indians are a lot to catch up way and that can take seveal decades to reach where South Korea is today.Compared to South Korea, India's per-capita is paltry $1600.00 (if calculated nominal GDP scale ) and we are right there with you. South Korea is now considered a highly industrialize and rich country with per capita $35000.00/ year. ....Cheers

Samiullah chitrali Feb 15, 2016 11:36am

If the security of a particular country is in risk and the opponent is very powerful,then the only solution is atomic bomb.Now powerful countries are threating the weak and exploiting their economy only because they are powerful stratigically .

Omar Feb 15, 2016 04:13pm

An Excellent Article!!

Lotus Feb 16, 2016 12:26am

Wonderful article.Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy you write extremely well on complex subjects for all and sundry to understand appreciate the realities.I get a feeling from the comments on this article that most of the writers do not know an iota about nuclear technology or basic physics.most think that a detonating a nuclear bomb is similar to an ordinary bomb.This is not so which only experts on this subject can decipher.Hopefully our leaders or at least their advisors do understand the complexities of nuclear armaments.Again thank you for highlighting some very critical aspects regarding the development,upkeep and ready for use stage of nuclear arms by Dr Pervez sahib.

Riazullah Baig Feb 16, 2016 12:50am

@Ali by your argument India and Pakistan can defend themselves but Japan cannot do so. Where is your "abject poverty"? Japan or the subcontinent?