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

Pakistan says it desperately wants Lockheed-Martin Block-V F-16 fighter-bombers at $87 million apiece for fighting terrorists in tribal badlands such as North Waziristan. An order for eight jets has already been placed. The US Senate is sympathetic; a move to ban the sale was massively rejected by majority vote. Lockheed-Martin, which peddles its deadly wares to all who can pay, has already sold 4,500 F-16s to 25 countries. It must be pleased at this small, but tidy, deal of $700m.

But thoughtful Pakistanis should be worried. Wag­ing an aerial war against your own population is not a good idea. Even if you have to, shouldn’t much cheaper weaponised drones be preferred over advanced fighter aircraft whose real job is to shoot down other planes? A drone, technically known as UAV, is far more precise than any fighter because it can loiter undetected over a target, capture and collect information better, and reduce — though never eliminate — damage to innocents. India is currently negotiating with the US for buying 40 Predator drones.

Editorial: Crackdown on extremism

Drones merely crawl across the sky and so they won’t stand a chance if the Taliban air force somehow acquires heaven-gifted Mach-3.5 Buraqs armed with advanced JDAMs. Then, at the very least, the fifth generation F-35 Lightning Fighter will be needed. Until that time, a state-of-the art aircraft is a ridiculously expensive choice for fighting wild-eyed local tribesmen and assorted fanatics from Central Asia.

To destroy terrorism will require a massive change of public attitudes.

More importantly, F-16s or drones can’t even dent the enemy’s real armour — his ideology. The Taliban are fighting to forcibly transform Pakistan into a state run by Sharia law. In the last two to three decades millions of Pakistanis have come to share enthusiasm for Sharia. Even while fighting the Taliban, many of our soldiers have agreed with their goal while disagreeing with their method. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, have died believing they are fighting agents of a foreign hand rather than religiously inspired fellow Muslims.

Military force, though sometimes indispensable, cannot eliminate those who live only to die. Pakistan has learned insufficiently from mighty America’s multiple failures in Afghanistan. No amount of aerial bombing, precision artillery, or even scorched-earth operations can daunt those who imagine they have been commanded by God to reform society. Faith, if strong enough, trumps fear.

So what will it take to get the upper hand in this existential conflict? The very first step is to realise that temporary victories achieved by use of force, while welcome, can fuel false hopes. After Operation Zarb-i-Azb, casualties from terrorist attacks have decreased by almost 40pc. A euphoric ISPR statement declared in December 2015 that, “Phenomenal success achieved. Terrorist backbone broken.”

But no backbone was broken. The enemy is just resting. The subsequent suicide attacks on Bacha Khan University, and Gulshan-i-Iqbal children’s park in Lahore, proved this. No one doubts that more atrocities will follow this year and next.

To destroy terrorism will require a massive change of public attitudes and a complete repudiation of Pakistan’s current policy. This uses two hoses to fight a terrible fire. One pours water to douse the flames. But the other hose spews petrol, subtracting from the gains made by the first.

The petrol is in the form of incendiary television evening talk shows that justify or implicitly condone terrorism. Some hidden hand — India, Afghanistan, Israel, or America — is held to be responsible for all acts of terror. Today’s television anchors and their guests are mostly those who had once claimed that Pakistan’s war on terror is “not our war”. Under army pressure they have stepped back recently, but only somewhat.

Drumming up jingoistic and religious sentiment, television has helped create an ambience where terrorism was explained away as resistance to Western invasions. Do readers remember TV’s denunciation of the Lal Masjid operation? Or the ‘discovery’ by multiple TV channels that suicide bombers were non-Muslims because they had not been circumcised?

To ban certain anchors and guests from freely peddling their lies using public media, and to jail them if necessary, would deflate popular support for extremists. Broadly, it is time to criminalise support for terrorism as much as terrorism itself. Those offering justification and rationalisation of such acts, financing through donations, or opening front organisations should be punished.

More than F-16s, Pakistan needs better intelligence. This could have prevented the Army Public School slaughter, and countless other atrocities. But, although budgets allocated to our multiple intelligence organisations are said to be generous, their professionalism mysteriously crashes when it comes to surveilling militant jihadist organisations.

Example: until earlier this week our spies were apparently unaware that Jamaatud Dawa, which was added on to the UN’s list of international terrorists groups in 2008, has been running a parallel — and wholly illegal — system of justice for many years. ‘Sharia courts’ in Lahore, Gujranwala, Bahawalpur, Multan, and Islamabad have so far ruled on 5,529 cases. In case of murder, compensatory blood money was fixed at the price of 100 camels. Those found guilty have been too afraid to challenge the court’s decision.

This brings to mind the Red Mosque. In 2007, its clerics had also illegally instituted their own system of justice that involved kidnapping Islamabad’s residents and trying them for moral crimes. Finally beaten down by the army, the price tag was 11 dead Special Services Group commandos and over 120 others. But it seems that subsequently the army lost the stomach to face urban challenges. No charge of murder of army officers was ever filed against the head cleric, Maulana Abdul Aziz, who continues to enjoy a normal life.

Religiously motivated terrorism threatens Pakis­tan’s existence. We have entered a state of permanent conflict where victory may not be possible even in 100 years. Drones or F-16s are not a solution. They may help in tribal areas but not in city environments where the enemy is thickest. Still, casualties can be reduced with good strategic thinking. Cutting off support to terrorists from their allies in the media, measures to stop radicalisation of the youth, and effective intelligence is critical. These are critical needs.

The writer teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2016

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

Comments (167) Closed

usman Apr 16, 2016 02:36am

Excellent piece of writing as always expected from you sir, but criticizing the use of F-16s instead of drones is not right. People in air force also know this thing. That's just an excuse to get more planes to have air power balance against India.

Spsalota Apr 16, 2016 02:45am

What a sane voice.

Anirban Apr 16, 2016 02:52am

Good write-up. Sums up the current situation.

Baloch Apr 16, 2016 03:32am

very nice...

Arslan Apr 16, 2016 04:08am

Very well written article. Also there is a need to properly educate the masses to overcome extremism.

Sacha Aadmi Apr 16, 2016 05:06am

Well written.

Saeed@ Canberra Apr 16, 2016 05:18am

Brilliant, agree with the basic argument except that "Wag­ing an aerial war against your own population". The militant terrorists in tribal areas are challenging state and were attacking state institutions, hosting foreign hardened terrorists, are not own people.

SUNIL Apr 16, 2016 05:19am

The Professor is precise and to the point - as usual - in discussing what ails Pakistan and what is the remedy.

Amir Dewani Apr 16, 2016 05:37am

Doctor Sahib, you are telling the truth.

Ali Shah Apr 16, 2016 05:57am

Dr Hoodbhoy, you make some good points

Woz ahmed Apr 16, 2016 06:17am

Such a sane voice as ever.

Saif Apr 16, 2016 06:24am

I doubt that our governments, both PML or PPP, will ever have the guts to take such a step to fight terrorism and extremism in Pakistan.

Ramachandra Rao Apr 16, 2016 06:48am

Cannot agree more with Mr.Hoodbhoy. Unless the ideology is defeated, terrorism will continue

NORI Apr 16, 2016 06:58am

Sir, you nailed it.

KARACHI WALA Apr 16, 2016 07:11am

You have correctly pointed no F-16 or army operation will eradicate terrorism for good.

Usman Apr 16, 2016 07:32am

Any average intelligent Pakistani knows against whom these F-16s shall be used. Pak Army Zindabad.

Ayaz Ahmad Guru Apr 16, 2016 07:36am

I agree

tochi Apr 16, 2016 07:37am

One of the few sane voices in violence ridden society.

gubol Apr 16, 2016 07:41am

those are sane words from a true intellectual.

Kris Apr 16, 2016 07:43am

Kudos to Mr.Hoodbhoy for an honest assessment on the war on terror.

jawaid Apr 16, 2016 07:44am

Excellent write-up.

P. S. Natarajan Apr 16, 2016 07:45am

Pervez Hoodbhoy is perhaps the wisest man living in Pakistan. Wood that that there were many Pervez Hoodbhoys in the subcontinent!

Badar Apr 16, 2016 07:55am

I always respect Dr Hoodbhai and his opinions. He's absolutely correct about not acquiring F16s to bomb terrorists since the job can be accomplished in many other ways effectively.

Bin Ismail Apr 16, 2016 07:59am

"...More importantly, F-16s or drones can’t even dent the enemy’s real armour — his ideology..."

Well said.

Truly yours Apr 16, 2016 07:59am

A very rational commentary indeed. Fighting religiously motivated terrorism with F-16s appears to be absurd Quixotic strategy.

Max Apr 16, 2016 08:27am

Brilliant as ever, Dr. Hoodbhoy, a well meaning Pakistani. Wish you and Pakistan well and hope sane voices like yours are paid heed to. Respect from across the border.

CALCUTTA MAN Apr 16, 2016 09:10am

Prof Hoodbhoy at his analytical best.

iftikhar saeed Apr 16, 2016 09:11am

The total deal of $700 million includes lot of other hardware also including missiles, upgrade kits and bombs. Why India is buying 120 Rafael fighters from France and another aircraft carrier. Mr Hoodbhoy must also elaborate on the use of French fighters and Russian aircraft carrier and a dozen or so German submarines and Israeli AWACS We look forward to the opinion on these. Thanks Professor

Ramdas Krishnamoorthy Apr 16, 2016 09:26am

Sir, you are 100 % correct.

wajid Apr 16, 2016 09:30am

He sum up very well "Religiously motivated terrorism threatens Pakistan’s existence. We have entered a state of permanent conflict where victory may not be possible even in 100 years."

Khan Apr 16, 2016 09:35am

Actually this is the first time i had wver agreed to this guy. And he is moreover correct. But to Buildup a stronger Int Network you need massive funding and Pol backing. And sorry we don't have any of that.

Dilip Thorat Apr 16, 2016 09:37am

Dear Sir, you sound sensible.

Brijesh Apr 16, 2016 09:41am

So true. Pakistan already has its JF Thunder which is more than sufficient to conduct its war against terror.

TQ Apr 16, 2016 09:41am

Excellent, sincerely hope the decision makers in Pakistan understand and do something about it.

Rani Apr 16, 2016 09:44am

what an excellent piece of writing and a great analysis of the current situation. Our so called leaders of Pakistan need to read this article and win the hearts and minds of the people. This is the only way to eradicate terrorism, and not by bombing.

Tapish Apr 16, 2016 09:48am

A Good article on the futility of heavy weaponry to combat terrorism.

James Apr 16, 2016 09:54am

Why is this gentleman not in the planning commission!!!!!

Qambar Ali Apr 16, 2016 10:09am

spot on

saad Apr 16, 2016 10:11am

all true

Praphul Apr 16, 2016 10:12am

wow!! such a powerful article. Good job sir.

Zak Apr 16, 2016 10:17am

F-16s are obsolete against Taliban , we need latest fighters with stealth capability if we are to succeed in US led war on terror.

Faizan Khan Apr 16, 2016 10:32am

Agreed....balanced approach....

Umar Apr 16, 2016 10:37am

"But, although budgets allocated to our multiple intelligence organisations are said to be generous, their professionalism mysteriously crashes when it comes to surveilling militant jihadist organisations."

Here you hit the nail on the head! Only if our people could understand this.

Fareed.hussain Apr 16, 2016 10:39am

Spot on as ever.

Sampath Apr 16, 2016 10:40am

A practical suggestion with good analysis. But to change social thinking requires cooperation from media and lot of NGO activity. One needs to look at contents in school curricula.

shan Apr 16, 2016 10:45am

Awesome. Author really highlighted the important issues but he was unable to understand that Military who have bases in Tribal areas need strong aerial support, as these groups very well trained to carry out night ambush and brutal close fights at bases. Pakistani drones are lacking night fight capability. This is military point of you as thousand of soldiers are standing in these areas and they need cover. But look to now civil point of view, I am quiet agreed with author we should work on these points and start on social transformation in society, But it is part of Democracy of Government they have to come with plan to overcome on this issues. Army is looking buy F16s as they required it in there war. But Civilian Government should also come with their plan that ; how to stop terrorism and they can seek some expertise from inside and outside. Thus it is important Civilian Govt should give his contribution to overcome on terrorism. This is way both hand can work and wipe out it.

Ali Apr 16, 2016 10:50am

Very well argued.

Daanish Apr 16, 2016 10:52am

very superficial thought process. Asking for doing is not equal to actually suggesting concrete steps.

Islam Aftab Apr 16, 2016 10:56am

What a true analysis Mr. Hoodbhoy. Keep it up please.

Ali Apr 16, 2016 10:58am

Excellent Article by the learned Professor! This is exactly the need of the hour.

Sandeep Gaur Apr 16, 2016 11:11am

Spending too much on arsenal is not what is the need of the current scenario.But to aware people about the consequences and eradicate excessive extremist thoughts.Govt on both sides should use that money for upliftment of its people and provide basic amenities to them.

Abdulla Hussain Apr 16, 2016 11:22am

"But thoughtful Pakistanis should be worried. Wag­ing an aerial war against your own population is not a good idea. Even if you have to, shouldn’t much cheaper weaponised drones be preferred over advanced fighter aircraft whose real job is to shoot down other planes"

The idea is good, but then those expertly professionals understands better the choice of weapons to deal with ongoing ground realities.

Shri Apr 16, 2016 11:26am

I am an Indian and yes he is right

Alok Gupta Apr 16, 2016 11:31am

Very well written Article. Other than corrective action, preventive action is also required.

This shall be a long and painful but it shall be good for the society.

Azad Apr 16, 2016 11:33am

Well agreed

Khan Apr 16, 2016 11:35am

Social justice, education, employment opportunities and development at grassroots level can bring a positive change in our society which can help in eliminating militancy and terrorism.

S Sharma Apr 16, 2016 11:40am

Sane words from an Intelligent, Educated, and a good hearted patriotic Pakistani.

Vigiliant Apr 16, 2016 11:40am

India is buying 36 Rafael aircrafts for 250 Million $ apiece. Consider that.

fida Apr 16, 2016 12:02pm

Very well written,

irfan Apr 16, 2016 12:05pm

I will disagree

Rohit Apr 16, 2016 12:11pm

Anyone in Pakistan listening?

tajamal hussain Apr 16, 2016 12:12pm

very nice

kkk Apr 16, 2016 12:15pm

hats off to you sir , very few dare to speak about root cause of all mess Pakistan facing today. its like a cancer need strong chemotherapy.

Raja Parekh Apr 16, 2016 12:24pm

I value your view that criminalizing support for terrorism directly or indirectly and sending the perpetrator to jail. No compromise.

Haider Apr 16, 2016 12:34pm

Very true

SKhan Apr 16, 2016 12:37pm

The real issue is the mindset and our so called religious scholars hardly open their mouths against this mindset.

Sodomite Apr 16, 2016 12:37pm

Then why did the US drop an atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki when the Japanese had already lost the war??? The job could well have been done by conventional forces and Japanese posed no threat to the US mainland.

Asif Apr 16, 2016 12:37pm

He is one, in rare sensible men in pakistan.

Truth Apr 16, 2016 12:40pm

Salute to your thinking.

Impressed Apr 16, 2016 12:41pm

This article proves there are Pakistani's do understand the problem behind it. But does anyone listen!

Raja Ragu Raman Apr 16, 2016 01:08pm

Eye opener !!! Hats off

nawaz Apr 16, 2016 01:14pm

our nation need a border thinking beyond religious ideology like the ideology of 'civilized human' without change of mind setup we won't win war against extremism. Those policy maker who has double standard must change there behavior,we are fighting ideological war the ideology which was design in 80's.

Rashid Sultan Apr 16, 2016 01:21pm

Well said prof.

A Pakistani Apr 16, 2016 01:32pm

A wise and sensible article.

JQ Apr 16, 2016 01:40pm

So true and future vision,

talat haque Apr 16, 2016 01:41pm

precisely - absolutely

kamran kashmiri Apr 16, 2016 01:52pm

totally agree

Shakiel Ahmed Apr 16, 2016 02:02pm

Unfortunately, brutally honest articles like these are sidelined by most. A pill is mostly bitter, but badly needed for a cure. Hopefully sanity will prevail and we will begin to understand the reality and start facing it.

Vakil Apr 16, 2016 02:32pm

Excellent insightful analysis Sir

Rahul Apr 16, 2016 02:38pm

Very thoughtful Sir. Hope people will listen & understand you in Pakistan.

rs Apr 16, 2016 02:42pm

Very sane voice.

Cornered tigers Apr 16, 2016 03:08pm

The article is spot on,

S. Patel Apr 16, 2016 03:25pm

Sir, Thank you for enlighting people of Pakistan and much much love from India. Love reading your articles!

Ahmedj Apr 16, 2016 03:25pm

The highlighted points are true.

Khalid Apr 16, 2016 03:34pm

"Hit the nail on its head"

Seeker of truth Apr 16, 2016 03:36pm

@irfan Of course you will.

Seeker of truth Apr 16, 2016 03:40pm

@Impressed No sir. No one.

Hassan Malik Apr 16, 2016 03:43pm

With Due Respect, I will disagree with you!

SM Apr 16, 2016 04:28pm

@Daanish : he has suggested concrete steps. read again.

alinut Apr 16, 2016 04:29pm

Smart sensible article

manoj Apr 16, 2016 04:36pm

PERVEZ HOODBHOY, Sir you are at wrong place. come to India and settle here, we need scholars like you.

Abdul Karim Apr 16, 2016 04:41pm

If F-16's are not what we need then it will be another kickback project like motorways, ports, metros, orange trains etc. etc. The principle reality now is we will not do what we need but what will give us bigger kickbacks in foreign illicit accounts.

Hence nothing is developed in Pakistan to do something by ourselves.

Prasad Apr 16, 2016 04:42pm

Sensible write-up from a learned person!

Needless to say, his voice does not reach the decision makers and opinion peddlers in Pakistan.

Tariq, Lahore Apr 16, 2016 04:48pm

Excellent narration, food for thought to take on the extremist ideology head-on!

M.Saeed Apr 16, 2016 04:51pm

Very impressive analysis! Its essence can be seen in the recent operation against Chottu Gang. Killing a mosquito with a laser-guided missile!

Sanjay Apr 16, 2016 05:07pm

Professor you have more fan following in India than that in Pakistan. Being Physics teacher, i am in resonance with your views.

uskumar Apr 16, 2016 05:09pm

As usual a very informative article

Zubeida Aapa Apr 16, 2016 05:10pm

"To ban certain anchors and guests from freely peddling their lies using public media, and to jail them if necessary, would deflate popular support for extremists" 101% agreed

Harisingh Apr 16, 2016 05:14pm

I agree with the Professor,

Secular Pathan Apr 16, 2016 05:14pm

Looking forward to meet you next week Sir.. You are an amazing person,

umar draz Apr 16, 2016 05:32pm

Sir, you are welcome in India, you will get warm welcome here...

rsvpp Apr 16, 2016 05:42pm

Excellent article. Wise advice. But who's listening?

Basit Ali Apr 16, 2016 05:46pm

@Vigiliant India is also sending satellites to Mars....ever considered that?

Usher Apr 16, 2016 05:47pm

@Saif How naïve, you still believe civilians are privileged enough to take such decisions?

Rationalist Apr 16, 2016 05:49pm

Thanks for a very nice incisive article to critique many aspects, and there are many valid points raised.

RANGANATHA Apr 16, 2016 05:51pm

If someone wants to recommend Noble Peace price, it should be Professor Hoodbhoy. I am fascinated with his realistic thought process. he is bringing great articles. Thanks Dawn for publishing his article regularly for sane readers across the world. The Dawn news paper is organized very well, neat and clean.

Indian Apr 16, 2016 05:58pm

@Pervez Hoodbhoy

You are right,

Abdul Apr 16, 2016 06:12pm

Crystal clear article, his services should be used to rebuild Pakistan

Zubair Apr 16, 2016 06:19pm

While I agree with you for the most part. These jets are not exclusively for killing terrorists. PAF will be retiring 200+ fighters in the next few years & F16s are a natural choice for obvious reasons. Cost & reliability etc. There are 2000+ F16s in service which will make for a big used aircraft market. Also TAI (Turkey) refurbishes them.

Zak Apr 16, 2016 06:28pm


Usman Apr 16, 2016 06:29pm

I hope one day or another, Gov institute realize it what you wrote. Good work

Pavas Ambashta Apr 16, 2016 06:41pm

A well balanced, thought provocative article..

SKS Apr 16, 2016 06:46pm

We need more people like you. Extremely courageous

DW Apr 16, 2016 06:51pm

Professor, nice article as usual, thank you!

raj Apr 16, 2016 06:52pm

Dear Prof, nice to see your frank and candid talk

Rational Corp Apr 16, 2016 07:09pm

Deep Respect to Sri Pervez Hoodbhoy.

Ahmed Saeed Apr 16, 2016 07:32pm

I think Pakistan desperately needs air power. Fight terror may be an excuse but the real threat is force balance. Couldn't disagree with you Sir.

Rationalist Apr 16, 2016 07:42pm

Thanks for a very nice incisive article to critique many aspects, and there are many valid points raised. However in this complex war there are too many variables and factors and no black or white solution or plan of action possible. The operation Zarb I Azb is being fought in a manner similar to Sri Lanka's successful crushing elimination of the Tamil Tigers. Here is a good summary of that war (or google it) :

Puthomadre, karachi Apr 16, 2016 07:54pm

Absolutely agree with the article.

PK Apr 16, 2016 08:04pm

Overall a very balanced opinion,

Khwarezmi Apr 16, 2016 08:23pm

I am against buying anything American, including F-16s which is a platform NATO is moving away from. On the other hand, India is about to buy 36 french Rafale jets - how is Pakistan going to tackle that?

I was surprised RAW and Kulboshan Jhadav's terrorist activities was not pointed out.

Real Indian Apr 16, 2016 08:25pm

Dr. Hoodbhoy is absolutely right

eramanagalam Somapalan Apr 16, 2016 08:31pm

As usual with the author well thought and written, based on reasoning and facts

Khwarezmi Apr 16, 2016 08:48pm

@Real Indian Ohh please give me a break! When India is buying 36 Rafale kets then Modi is right according to you.

Mirza Apr 16, 2016 09:00pm

In addition to reigning in the anchors and media , we should also look at changing the mindset of people. That could only be done by the mullahs who should be asked to do their part otherwise they should be asked to go somewhere else.

Masood Hussain Apr 16, 2016 09:33pm

Do we have to import intelligence? and at what cost?We need more people of your calibre to write on this subject to make our rulers understand it.

bipin Apr 16, 2016 09:37pm

@iftikhar saeed They are to keep check on China and Not Pakistan.

dsdsd Apr 16, 2016 09:52pm

Who can disagree? Moreover, first substitute India for Pakistan and thereafter send this piece to India as well. That country to is buying more and more weapons from abroad. A rather sizable section of the Indian society too is unable to realize that more weapons is not a solution to India's problems. Like Pakistan, India too needs to increase spendings on modern and compulsory education to all kids.

Yet another Indian Sri1 Apr 16, 2016 10:07pm

@iftikhar saeed " Mr Hoodbhoy must also elaborate on the use of India buying Rafale fighters, Russian aircraft carrier and a dozen German submarines, Israeli AWACS"

Iftikar, do you really feel that India needs all those against your nation? Wouldn't it just make sense to constantly keep flames burning all over for a fraction of a fraction of the costs? Indian aspirations are to match China and USA, economically, technologically or otherwise. Maybe you need to really think about capabilities before over-rating or underestimating. When the evenly matched Soviets could just disintegrate for seeking parity, treasure what you have instead of coveting what you won't.

deven Apr 16, 2016 10:42pm

Excellent analysis. The war monger media persons should be put behind bars. The manufacturing lines of F-16 are no longer required by Americans as F-22 and F-35 fighters , far superior to F-16, have already been inducted. Therefore , in order to sell the dead, they will only be too happy to full-fill such orders. India has already rejected their offer for transferring complete manufacturing line for F-16 ,as the fifth generation PAK-50, of joint Indo-Russian venture will soon be ready for production.

deven Apr 16, 2016 10:46pm

@iftikhar saeed We don't care about Pakistan but the Chinese threat. Pakistan is not part of our equation. India is in much bigger league.

Abdulla Hussain Apr 16, 2016 10:46pm

@Zubair: May be the very learned professor missed the simple point you correctly pointed out. Taliban & other non state actors are not only our enemies, Pakistan has to skate on a much wider area & has to face state sponsored enemy from across the border, drone is not enough.

khusboo Apr 16, 2016 10:49pm

@iftikhar saeed

if compare with india then have guts to say that we need F16 against india why make excuses about fighting terror

sadiq Apr 16, 2016 10:51pm


We indian never said that we will use them on Naxalites. At least we are giving true justification for buying Rafale. :)

Muzammil Apr 17, 2016 12:08am

I can understand if a Pakistani in Pakistan says that APS attack was Indian Job. But unfortunately one of friend living in Europe believe like that. Even most of my friend think that Malala story is foreign conspiracy. I feel that complete overhauling our Pakistani brain is required. We have to accept that our own fellow muslim brothers are involved in terrorism in Pakistan. This is the war of ideology. Pakistan is so behind because we blame India, USA and Israel for everything wrong happen to this country. Even once earth quake in Pakistan was blamed on USA.

Srinivas Apr 17, 2016 12:11am

Very sane voice. I hope such sane voices will prevail. I saw these debates on YouTube. They unnecessarily incite people. As Parvez saab said, anchors as well as the commentators should be punished.

Ali Apr 17, 2016 01:04am

PAF has been flying F-16s for 30 years with 80 in its inventory. They are the only aircraft capable of precision day/night attacks to avoid collateral damage. USAF and other air forces have also been using F-16s and others advanced jets against Daesh in the Middle East.

Yes, armed Predators drones would be ideal to track / destroy terrorist movements in the rugged mountains of Pak-Afghan border region. Though Pakistan needed these armed drones, the US did not provide them due to massive Indian lobby pressure in Washington.

The PAF then acquired unarmed Falco drones from Italy and eventually started producing armed Buraq drones, but they are small and carry small weapons. Though India is not a front-line state fighting the War on Terror, it has asked US for armed Predator drones. The US should refuse India, or provide them to Pakistan as well.

Sameed Apr 17, 2016 01:31am

I think launching a development package worth 700 million dollars would dent extremism the greatest blow. This deal is just part of an arms race with India. A very bad strategic decision

RATIONALIST Apr 17, 2016 01:41am

The premise of f16s not needed for the mentioned purpose is also incorrect since that is the only alternative for Pakistan for precision surgical strikes as was used by the West in Iraq. JF-17s don't have the weapon systems integration to achieve that yet:

M. Hussain Apr 17, 2016 02:48am

It's a well written article, spot on regarding the issue of not enough being done to defeat and eradicate the ideology that breeds terrorism.

However, the credibility of the article was unnecessarily lost when the author mixed in parts of standard lame Indian propaganda. How nice it would have been if an intellectual of his caliber was more loyal to the land in which he lives, and the people among which he lives, than a regional bully which is motivated by some ancient/pre-historic religious/racist ideology.

Lifebuoy Apr 17, 2016 03:19am

India simply wants to maintain military balance with its neighbors including China but I doubt it will ever consider attacking a nuclear equipped Pakistan. I think Hoodboy is right here but don't forget he always criticizes Pakistan for going nuclear which is very unwise of him. Pakistan no longer needs to worry about India anymore, instead it should concentrate on what Hoodboy now suggests.

Kaleem Apr 17, 2016 03:54am

I am not sure what kind of problem you guys have if Pakistan is purchasing F-16!!!!

Waheed Ahmed Apr 17, 2016 04:32am

Who are we using these fighter jets against??? Think about it????

These are regular tax payers, stop thr madness!!!!!!!

Jawaid kamal Apr 17, 2016 04:35am

Please clone your self,we need thousands like you. what sanity,clarity and critical analysis and thinking . Simply Second to none,also thanks to Dawn for allowing these ideas to get published.

Suraj Apr 17, 2016 05:27am

Dr. Hoodboy, as usual you always get to the point. It's clear that Pakistani youth without proper marketable education and without jobs are influenced to become radical. Pakistan should prioritise non madrasah education if it wants to compete with countries like China, India, England, France and US etc. Unfortunately in 21 st century religious studies are not enough to earn a good living. Sciences, computer , medicine and degree in business are the only subjects that almost guarantees jobs. Pakistani children are as smart as any one if given proper education.

goga Apr 17, 2016 05:37am

F-16s aren't really going to be used against some terror fight, they are going to hangered in the backyard of Pak Army in case they ever need to show muscles against India to cause their own doom.

Naihal Apr 17, 2016 05:49am

@Khwarezmi To tackle 36 French Rafel, you have the option of buying SSB from Afghanistan.

wasim Apr 17, 2016 06:08am

low flyers , no?

Innocent Apr 17, 2016 06:33am

@Saeed@ Canberra And can you answer a basic question as to who were the people that made them and trained them and financed them in the first place

brar Apr 17, 2016 06:45am

@Khwarezmi Modi never said we require jets to fight terrorists and if India jumps in to a well will you follow, think rationally you can buy as uch as you require you have to pay not India.

Ash Apr 17, 2016 08:53am

Excellent and hope somebody is listening.

Abdullah Tariq Apr 17, 2016 09:00am

It's a usual debate.

jinka Apr 17, 2016 09:03am

Great Dr sahab....Thanks

Jayakumar Apr 17, 2016 10:28am

I envy that Pakistan has such great people like Pervez Hoodbhoy living on its soil.

Iftikhar Bhutta Apr 17, 2016 02:16pm

Good article with soundnaartive , how to change mindset through political and awareness movement .

Anees Apr 17, 2016 02:24pm

Change of minds and hearts happen in a society that embraces change. By the looks of it, this change seems eons away unless people some how magically convert into it. Solution is to force rationality right from the top and implementation of that ideology into the main curriculum for the students and then wait for couple of decade to let it blossom.

M M AMIN (Old Ravian) Apr 17, 2016 02:40pm

Prof never disappoints his fans . Cost benefit calculus must be left to those who are doing the fighting .Choice of weapons is not for Prof to make ,with due deference.Otherwise a well composed column.

waqar Apr 17, 2016 02:57pm

AOA! Why so much critique on purchasing f 16. these can be used for other purposes. i second usman

Premsan Apr 17, 2016 04:36pm

Great piece of write up and full respect to Mr Hoodbhoy. He has clearly articulated the root cause for pak ills of terrorism.Instead of treating symptoms, pak should address the cause - rapid radicalisation of generation of pakistanis.

Refreshing and eye opener,unlike Mr Munir Akram types.

Manjul Pant Apr 17, 2016 07:18pm

Wisdom from a wise man...

Saleem Imtiaz Apr 17, 2016 10:12pm

@usman what do you want to say ?

Uzair Apr 17, 2016 10:39pm

Last paragraph summed up everything

Socrates of Gilgit-Baltistan Apr 17, 2016 11:02pm

Dr. sahib i personally respect your views but it is for certain that no one will be in a good mood to lend his ear to your affactionate and insightful advise. For paying heed is the characteristic of those who have brains and we all know that majority of our people are ignorant who need education and we can imagine the enormity of the situation when these ignorant people chose their leaders. Can someone explain it to me what should be the level of those leaders? Do they care how should the country be run? This is also true of the members of the establishment as mostly they are composed of those who have least understanding of the meaning of the nation and its place in the first place. Majority of them are also in a perpetual struggle to revive the tales of the past which is also dubious and need a new perspective of intensive research to untangle it from reality and myth which brings me to make a request to you that keep your goodself busy in pointing out our drawbacks sir.

Habibullah Khan Nasar Apr 18, 2016 01:46am

The total payment by Pakistan would be 700 million ($), 700 billion rupees. If the aforesaid amount is spent on the development of FATA, instead of purchasing war machines, it would not only eradicate terrorism from the country but also pull the area to the national social and political mainstream.

I seriously doubt if anything of substance has been changed since the adoption of National Action Plan. I think the NAP must include the soft package (political, social and economic) rather than dedicating all the focus and resources for the surgical and military options.

Indian-dilse Apr 18, 2016 07:30pm

sensible write-up from Pakistan.

TZaman Apr 19, 2016 02:54am

I hope this article is reprinted again and again. And it is taught to all secondary school students. Thank you, Sir, for being so eloquent.

Khalid Hussain Apr 19, 2016 04:35pm

Sir, excellent points as usuall