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A balance sheet for May 28

Updated May 28, 2016 10:36am


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

On this very day, exactly 18 years ago, riotous celebration erupted after Pakistan tested its nuclear weapons. Just 17 days earlier, India had experienced a similar moment. Then, one year later, Pakistan once again saw mass jubilation during the officially sponsored Youm-i-Takbir. But, in sharp contrast, today’s nuclear celebrations are barely audible. One hopes that this signals increased national maturity and sobriety.

From Pakistan’s perspective, its nuclear weapons have already delivered by reducing India’s willingness and ability to use its superior conventional military capability. Indian restraint during the 1999 Kargil war, the subsequent failure of Indian efforts at coercive diplomacy in 2001–02, and the caution exercised after the 2008 Mumbai attack attest to the central lesson of the nuclear age — it is not worth going to war against a nuclear-armed adversary on anything of less than national life-or-death importance.

That’s the success part. What of the rest? As readers will surely recall, there were many expectations that went well beyond matching India’s bombs. Lest they be forgotten, let’s recall what they were and review the report card.

Examine: More lethal than RAW

First, the bomb was supposed to ensure Pakistan’s security. Post Chagai, it was common to claim that “none may now dare look at Pakistan with evil eye”. But this was shallow rhetoric. In 2016, Pakistan is threatened not so much by India as by a multitude of Islamist militant groups that are waging bloody war against our state and society. In the last decade, the Pakistan army has lost more soldiers to terrorism than in all four wars against India. Nuclear bombs are useless against terrorists.

The atomic bomb was supposed to create a state of bliss. Unsurprisingly that didn’t happen.

The bombs proved equally useless in stopping the drone that took out Mullah Mansour a few days ago, or the team of SEALs that hunted down Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad. Apart from issuing sullen remarks about the violation of its sovereignty, Pakistan could do nothing to challenge American power.

Second, ever since the first bomb was ready (1987), it was hoped that the bomb would resolve the Kashmir dispute in Pakistan’s favour. Protected by nuclear weapons, Pakistan could support militant groups to wage a low-cost war against Indian forces based in Kashmir, raising the cost of Indian occupation.

For fear of triggering nuclear confrontation, India would be deterred from launching cross-border retaliatory raids. The term ‘nuclear flashpoint’ for Kashmir reverberated in the international press. The hope here was that Western intermediaries would step in and force India to the bargaining table.

It didn’t work. After an initial period of worry, international interest in intervening in the Kashmir dispute waned. The UN no longer pays any attention to the matter. Today, the wisest option for Pakistan would be to stick to its officially declared policy of providing moral and diplomatic support — but no clandestine military support — to those Kashmiris who bravely resist Indian occupation. Else, how can it reasonably protest Indian support to Baloch separatists? Condemn Kulbhushan Jadhav and his associates?

See: How India failed to keep her word on respecting Kashmir's disputed status

Third, the euphoria created by the nuclear tests was expected to create a new national spirit. The euphoric press compared this historical moment with the birth of Pakistan in 1947. TV programmes of that time show Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif congratulating cheering citizens. To bear the pain of Western sanctions, he promised strict personal and public austerity. Henceforth grand public buildings — including the prime minister’s house — would be converted into schools and women’s universities.

Long before Panama, this became unbelievable. The fact is that such euphoric moments are strictly temporary. Once the excitement of the blast fades, harsh realities inevitably set in. May 28 did not end Pakistan’s struggle to discover an identity and national purpose or help it overcome deep provincial, religious, ethnic, and linguistic divisions. Beyond hoping for Chinese largesse, it does not have a programme for economic growth to meet the needs of an exploding population.

Fourth, now a country that was both nuclear and Muslim, Pakistan hoped to emerge as a leader among Islamic countries, standing tall alongside the much older, more established, and much richer Muslim nations. It also sought to become their defender.

The notion of creating a common defence for the ummah was vigorously promoted by numerous Islamist parties in Pakistan, most notably the Jamaat-i-Islami. Carrying cardboard replicas of the Shaheen and Ghauri missiles through the streets, they claimed the bomb was for Islam rather than just Pakistan. Much of the media was also enthusiastic about expanding the appeal of the bomb.

Indeed, Muslim nations as diverse as Iran and Saudi Arabia were delighted at Pakistan’s success. Iranian foreign minister Kamal Kharazi flew over to congratulate Pakistan. Saudi Arabia went further; it provided Pakistan with 50,000 barrels per day of free oil to help it cope with the international sanctions triggered by nuclear tests.

But those moments have long passed. The notion of the ummah has evaporated as Muslims fight Muslims in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Turkey and Libya. Nothing suggests that this is temporary. Iran and Saudi Arabia are at daggers drawn, and the Pakistan-Iran relationship simmers with hostility. Today, Israel and Saudi Arabia are virtual allies with Pakistan drawing ever closer to the latter. The notion that Pakistan’s bomb could be directed against Israel has become unbelievable.

Fifth, and finally, the bomb was supposed to transform Pakistan into a technologically and scientifically advanced country. Amazingly, both India and Pakistan forgot something basic — making nuclear weapons many decades after they were first made is a highly unconvincing claim to technological prowess. Even poor North Korea, known for its cartoon-boy dictator — but not for new science — has conducted four nuclear tests and boasts of ICBM capability.

The atomic bomb was supposed to create a state of bliss. Unsurprisingly that didn’t happen. Indeed, Pakistan’s security problems cannot be solved by expanding its missile fleet, buying more F-16s, or developing tactical nuclear weapons. Instead, the way forward lies in 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 writer teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.

Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2016

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

Comments (245) Closed

F Khan May 28, 2016 07:23am

@Pervez Hoodbouy: Well said Sir.But do not expect that the wisdom you have out in the article will ever sink in the pakistani politicians, khakis or public at large unless religion and state are separated, which we all know will never happen, at least not in the next 100 years.

Indian May 28, 2016 07:25am

My respects to you. Sir, plain-speak may not go down well in your country. Take care, God bless you.Keep teaching, keep writing.

Sajjad May 28, 2016 07:42am

Teacher, you seem to be very neutral about atomic bomb. Article ignores negative consequences of the bomb

sa May 28, 2016 07:54am

Dr. Hoodbhoy u r a true enlightened human but it is disappointing when u used phrases like "Today, the wisest option for Pakistan would be to stick to its officially declared policy of providing moral and diplomatic support — but no clandestine military support — to those Kashmiris who bravely resist Indian occupation'

India no doubt an aggressor in Kashmir but so is Pakistan there is no difference. Killers and terrorists are same everywhere if anyone cares to listen there are countless tales how these so called separatists terrorosed their own people

MALIK FROM AUSTRALIA May 28, 2016 08:08am

An excellent column from Professor Hoodbhoy. The last paragraph is the take-home message and I wish to reproduce it here:
"The atomic bomb was supposed to create a state of bliss. Unsurprisingly that didn’t happen. Indeed, Pakistan’s security problems cannot be solved by expanding its missile fleet, buying more F-16s, or developing tactical nuclear weapons. Instead, the way forward lies in 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." Bravo to Professor Hoodbhoy and, to Dawn for publishing this timely advice.

Mohammed Hund May 28, 2016 08:11am

I highly doubt that there are many takers of Dr. Hoodboy's views in Pakistan. One thing the author ignored to include in the article is that the Army has a larger role in the country's affairs and decision making process. The current state of affairs is not going to change in a long time to come.

Saina May 28, 2016 08:16am

You are quintessential pilgrim in an unholy land. Sane voices don't matter in your country , might never did.

Manjeet May 28, 2016 08:20am

No threat from India brothers, threat is from within, poverty, terrorism, unemployment, radicalisation, uneven distribution of powers between civil & military, widenings gaps between rich and poor, pseudo democracy or militarycracy. Some of the factors common with India. Terrorism will tear Pakistan into bits and pieces and not India and your nuclear bomb may be directed agsinst you because terrorists are no bodys friends

wellwisher May 28, 2016 08:33am

a great article from a wise man

analyzer May 28, 2016 08:41am

kudos to the author.... master peice...

Mohit ( USA) May 28, 2016 09:21am

How many times can I say "Great Article" to you Prof? Indeed only thing bomb did to India- Pak was that status quo to be permanent... now no matter how much India or Pak want, they cant take away the Kashmir from other...

sid May 28, 2016 09:22am

To the point ! thanks

SR Khan May 28, 2016 09:24am

Execellent, this is the point and the professor has put it very rightly as always.

Ibrahim May 28, 2016 09:31am

good read. v logical and sane voice in this country.

Zak May 28, 2016 09:32am

We will fight for Kashmiris and Kashmir liberation till the end of times, we will spare no effort to help Kashmiris , everyday Pakistanis are fighting in IHK and embracing martyrdom .

Irfan Ullah May 28, 2016 09:37am

Brilliant as always. I wish we would have made a university instead of this bomb.

Muhammad uzair May 28, 2016 09:48am

I dont think bomb was ever supposed to create state of bliss . Anyone regular reader would know Pakistan's nuclear program was designed to develop a defensive fence so that india , its traditional enemy could not dare to caste evil eye . Based on grave events since 1998 and how nuclear weapons resisted any military adventure , it is absolutely doubtless how weapons served its purpose . Yes , social issue must be addressed , but it should not be mixed with nuclear weapons . Both are needed for country's survival ; debate can be set on priorities of time , but ignorance of any would not be prudent .

AkhterIqbalKhan May 28, 2016 09:49am

good one

Mustafa R. May 28, 2016 10:00am

Nuclear weapons are not going to solve our internal problems they only ensure that our internal problems remain internal. When Russia began sorting out it's internal problems the West couldn't throw Putin out like they threw Mohommad Mursi and Moammar Gaddafi out and that is because, you guessed it, nuclear weapons.

Mustafa R. May 28, 2016 10:02am

They turned East Pakistan into Bangladesh, but our nuclear weapons foiled a far bigger conspiracy of turning Pakistan into West Bangladesh.

Nadeem Khan May 28, 2016 10:04am

An accurate report card. 18 years later we find out that real strength comes from a strong economy, an educated and healthy population, and internal cohesion and harmony. Politicians might deliver on these goals some day,

Imran ali May 28, 2016 10:07am

wonderful article especially provincial grievances can be effectively resolved, elimination of the feudal order, and creating a tolerant society that respects the rule of law.

jahangir gani May 28, 2016 10:13am

nice article; the Pakistani society needs to be tolerant and economically very sound so that it can compete with other nations

Tahir A May 28, 2016 10:17am

The way forward is in building a sustainable and active democracy, an economy for peace rather than war.

Fine, but our leaders do not have vision for such a thing as it might not be that lucrative loot-wise for their pockets. Our religious leaders want us to go back in time a few hundred years. And yet our public at large fully support both. Time and again same corrupt leaders are chosen by their choice and there is no one to shut up the "holy" brigade because of our sentiments so badly distorted through decades of brainwashing.

Entirely our own fault - i.e. the public.

Sardar May 28, 2016 10:19am

The day Pakistan stops with reason to live with: - belief in the bomb and - hate towards India/doctrine of "not being India"

Most problems should go away.

That will come with one thing and one thing only: An open logicsl education.

Dr. Hoodboy can help, given a chance (unencumbered)

best wishes to Pakistan from bangalore

fahd May 28, 2016 10:43am

how may times indian forces cam close to the border and what kept them from crossing it? After the OBL incident the americans were seriously thinking about invading pak but according to the book" obama's wars" the author mentioned that attacking a nuclear armed country would be insanity. As far as conventional weapons are concerned pak will always need them otherwise our nuclear threshold will be very low.

Sachin Srivastava May 28, 2016 10:47am

Had this thinking been at the top inside Pakistan's leaders in past 17 years , the would not have been such a gigantic difference between a $220 bn economy of Pakistan and $2trillion economy of India. Indian democracy rocks !!!!! Hope sanity prevails in South Asia !

Truly Yours May 28, 2016 10:48am

Exellent and insightful article.

The concluding statement however "the way forward lies in 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" is glaring for its omission of the most important ingredient that keeps Pakistan from attaining normalcy - decent modern education.

Mahmood May 28, 2016 10:47am

Nuclear program turned out to be a curse for Pakistan.

Far from delivering ball the expected dividends, it has cost the country precious resources; lost prestige; backward slide to rising illiteracy and poverty; increased militancy and far less security for its people.

Like I've expressed before, Pakistan was a far better place to live in, during the 60s and 70s. And lot more secure before the billions were wasted on nukes, which will never be used and cannot feed the people.

vi May 28, 2016 10:51am


Mustafa May 28, 2016 10:55am

very sober and well articulated piece. Well done Sir!

Rajiv Mahajan May 28, 2016 10:57am

So True.... In India's case the only thing we achieved was creating a nuclear neighborhood.

aleem May 28, 2016 11:01am

Professor. You are absolutely spot on!

SGH May 28, 2016 11:07am

A sharp analysis and convincing conclusion. Thank you. People in Pakistan and India need clean water, electricity, schools, hospitals and jobs. We need all resources to solve basic daily problems of the people.

Bari May 28, 2016 11:10am

It did helped in neutralizing conventional military strength of India.

naam May 28, 2016 11:19am

very well written!

Shalone May 28, 2016 11:20am

As always the author has done an excellent job describing the nuclear debate. What we should make sure is that it remains in the hands of armed forces. Atom bomb does not automatically make Pakistan a stable state. We should follow the example of China and put all our energies to create more jobs and help millions come out of extreme poverty. Only then can Pakistan stand up and be counted as an independent and successful nation. Of course educating future generations by forcing all children to have education will go a long way.

Bitter Truth May 28, 2016 11:26am

Very right pin point analysis . Have played age of empires series PC games from Microsoft in that if some one have strong economy resources then he would win the game but alone strong military hardware cannot guaranty the wining if not backed by devolve and strong economy and human resources. Wonder that format even true for any nation to succeed also.

Ramesh May 28, 2016 11:26am

you agree or not but after the nuclear test Pakistan lost the credibility, respect, development, home security, education everything. Actually Pakistan of Before test is much much better than after the test.

Shah May 28, 2016 11:32am

If we did not have nuclear weapons the map of SE Asia would have been different by now. Comparing internal insurgencies, crime and thuggery with nuclear weapons capability and inability is very shallow thinking. Look at crime rate in US does it stopped it from becoming super power???

Sad but true May 28, 2016 11:32am

Awakening article but too bold to Pakistan ears.

Sad but true May 28, 2016 11:35am

Awakening article but too bold to Pakistan ears.

neutral May 28, 2016 11:37am

The whole article is very informative but the last para is more appealing. Nuclear bombs did not provde us Roti, kapra aur makan either. Those brought us sanctions and an undeclared war in the north - whoever sponsers it. It is like a Golden dagger - one can not thurst it into the stomach.

Random May 28, 2016 11:41am

A rational article.

vvd May 28, 2016 11:42am

Hit the nail on the head.Most accurate look at the situation as it is now.Hats off to you.

DostGosht May 28, 2016 11:45am

Excellent article

khanm May 28, 2016 11:52am

What nuclear weapons have really achieved...very simple..nuclear weapons were supposed to save us but now the role is reversed..we are too busy saving them..besides a country with history of extremism, top it up a Muslim state, no political farsightedness, no leadership, corruption etc has made us a focal point in international arena..the world will isolate us eventually and eventually we will have to give it up..if we want to avoid avoid that , be a viable economical state..have a firm stand, be self reliance ...cos beggars cannot be the choosers

AG Babar May 28, 2016 11:51am

Dear Hoodbhoy , I respect your opinion but imagine a Nuclear India and Non Nuclear Pakistan !!!!

Hemant May 28, 2016 11:55am

History tells Kashmir cannot be used as a bait to draw India to negotiating table. In 1965,Pakistani army left the occupied Jawahar tunnel when India crossed the International border at Wagah,Kashmir cannot be 'nuked' as it will pollute the indus. It needs a political solution,which is the best bait.Let better governance win.With a coalition govt. in kashmir and better infrastructure(read kashmir railway), things are going to be positive now.

Gazala Indian May 28, 2016 11:57am

Everything is right in the article. But, we all are aware of these facts.Indias nuclear test was to contain china & it is still there.Nuclear weapon is the powerful tool to make war free zone between china, India & Pakistan. The true lessons learned by Pakistan after Aps Peshawar that like Mumbai others too have the ability to wound you hard.

Aqeel Aamir May 28, 2016 12:08pm

What i gained, is that the 'Bomb' hasn't got us what we wished and expected. Many similar ideas and prospects failed us to be literate (far fetching) in dealing issues affecting our lives and adversaries. I wish some able man to sit and calculate and measure about how much energy and resources we have wasted. May we be able to learn and plan well for future. May Be!!

Farrukh Sarfraz May 28, 2016 12:09pm

I am surprised by the basic premise of logic in the article. If we had not done the tests, would there be no internal security challenges today, would Kashmir be free today. I miss the correlation between the tests and other expectations.

However, the associated hoola hala with going nuclear can be challenged that some wrong commitments were made.

Going nuclear was the need of the day.

Anwer ali Baluch USA May 28, 2016 12:08pm

Sir, Pervez Hoodbhy, you missing one point is that overseas Pakistani lost their life saving in QARZ AUTARO MULK SAWARO" fraud has done with us and we lost our foreign exchange accounts, high ups transfer their money that night before announcement. This nightmare for us. We never forget this Fraud to us.

Chris May 28, 2016 12:17pm

Hahaha, one of the best articles by one of my favorite personality... He has nailed the whole Pakistan community with shame..

Surya Kant May 28, 2016 12:29pm

USSR had almost same numbers of nuclear warheads as US just two decades ago.

AdHawk May 28, 2016 12:29pm

Correctly put. What an irony that the bomb was intended to ensure national security, yet no one dares set foot in the country even to play cricket.

Usman May 28, 2016 12:34pm

Kindly review indian news papers before pakistani nuclear blasts.... they even said india should decìde pakistan foreign policy .... so in my opinion it was necessary.... and it still gives the message to the world that we are still capable of doing the unthinkable. ....

Anubhav May 28, 2016 12:39pm

Every Pakistani or Indian who is enthusiastic about these bombs,must see the history of nuclear pain and grievance of hirosima and nagasaki. I am sure as a parents;no one ever imagine such future of our children's.

Skeptic May 28, 2016 12:40pm

Simply put, Nukes have provided zero benefit. But have perpetually ensured Pakistani illiteracy and poverty by sucking up valuable resources and never ending India obsession.

Auginpk May 28, 2016 12:41pm

Actually the atom bomb was needed by both India and Pakistan. At every place we talk about global village. The nuclear bomb deters all types of countries to directly attack the host country.

Actually it was a chain. Once USA got it USSR had to get it. When USSR got it China had to get it. Once China got it some day India had to get it and so does Pakistan.

We should not think whether it was required or not. It was required off course.

It has its use even without actually using it.

Raghubir Sharan May 28, 2016 12:41pm

Peace and friendship along with cultural and educational exchanges among neighbors would bring prosperity and happiness to both. This article is a voice in that direction and is very welcome. May such voices find support and flourish.

aleem May 28, 2016 12:47pm

@Farrukh Sarfraz Of course there is a co-relation. had the same attention been paid to education, health and social development, we wouldn't be where we are today.

AbdulHalim May 28, 2016 12:48pm

A Very good Article, but how many in pakistan will understand this? Leave the mass aside even the intellectual club doesn't cast for it.

AWADH May 28, 2016 12:49pm

Excellent write up!!!! I doubt , Pakistani people will read and implement the the the suggestions made in the article? Some even will not agree !!! Marvelous !!!!!!.

Mustafa R. May 28, 2016 01:03pm

@Irfan Ullah;

'Brilliant as always. I wish we would have made a university instead of this bomb.'

Let us get our money back from Panama and make a hundred universities.

A Pakistani May 28, 2016 01:10pm

Lovely .. Every patriotic Pakistani should read this. the nation has been bluffed by Nawaz and co for more than 3 decades and still most of the people are praying for NS health.. Pakistan main problem isn't terrorism, it is corruption. Had there been a corrupt free government we would had been on top.

Praphul May 28, 2016 01:15pm

i again repeat on this forum, please come to India sir. Your article is so enlightening.

khan May 28, 2016 01:29pm

Brilliant sir! you are amongst the few ones who speak the truth in this country.

Gazala Indian May 28, 2016 01:37pm

@Ramesh Your assumptions are true brother. After 98 test India build up its image, strength & economy

Woz ahmed May 28, 2016 01:39pm

Beautifully written and well argued as ever.

A very sad state of affairs.

The question is , is any one listening ?

My biggest concern is a ballooning population, due to add another 100 million in the next 34 years and keep growing.

Best way to reduce population growth is education and health spending, not surprisingly the two areas which feel the squeeze most for military spending.

One F16 could build 150 world class libraries or secondary schools.imagine the future with a bigger shift.

Prateek Lohiy May 28, 2016 01:56pm

This is journalism.....Honest and straight.......Dawn is one of the best newspaper in the Sub-Continent.....purely on the basis of the articles it publishes....Again....Appreciate the Article.........And the topic is true for India too....We have also not gained anything from the Nuclear test, although now we are trying to harness nuclear power for production of electricity for the masses at a low cost alternative.

KumarKhan May 28, 2016 02:17pm

Pakistan thinks that nukes are deterrence.

N.Sid May 28, 2016 02:39pm

Wish the author have read what the Ukranian government said after the Russia took the Crimea and attacked Ukraine. They said 'Wish we have never parted with the nuclear weapons and not surrendered them to the Russia'. Also just check the hegemonic, vitriol, coercive ways India uses against its small neighbors like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri lanka etc. Also check the statements of Indian leaders before Pakistan went nuclear, they were full of disdain, bellicosity and unnerving to a non-nuclear Pakistan. Also how can we forget the 71, fall of Dacca, read Sarmilla Bose book 'Dead Reckoning' about India's tacit role in creating the so called rebels. The list goes on and on.

Desi Jan May 28, 2016 02:39pm

Linking atomic bomb with economic prosperity is completely wrong.We must have atomic bomb it is a deterrent. In fact all developing nations with oil or other mineral resources must have some kind of a deterrent otherwise endless cycle of war will continue by the west. Simple.

khanm May 28, 2016 02:45pm

It is away from the topic but I want to use the media and social media to give this message to the world scientific community to persuade their governments to press a resolution in United Nations to solely use the technological advance for mankind and not for their may say I am a dreamer but I am not the only one. Hope someday you will join us and the world would be one..

Mayank May 28, 2016 02:59pm

I wish I had had opportunity to be your student. May be some day...

Mayank May 28, 2016 03:00pm

@Zak, This article is surely not for you.

Overseas citizen May 28, 2016 03:04pm

@Zak but we will take our whole family to Singapore for medical treatment as we can't even develop proper medical facilities.

Arsalan May 28, 2016 03:05pm

A class critique Mr Hoodbhoy.... a nation rudderless, a govt inept and corrupt....

Javed May 28, 2016 03:06pm

A nice article that is spot on.

Maxx May 28, 2016 03:06pm

So the author is implying the nuclear bomb is bad for Pakistan but it's fine for India. Pakistan went nuclear as a deterrent, only after India did it. With a hostile neighbor who have not accepted Pakistan(check the Indian military doctrine), Pakistan was left with fewer choices.

Maxx May 28, 2016 03:13pm

Pakistan would have been another Iraq, Afghanistan without the nuclear weapons and a strong Army...Simple. Would USA invaded Iraq if she possessed the actual WMD's. US knew there is none. And about 1.2 million poor Iraqis were killed in the Iraq invasion, including women and children. With power comes respect, especially if the there prowls a few of bullies and predators ready to prey.

Keti Zilgish May 28, 2016 03:17pm

Both 'education' & 'law' can be geared to benefit either the rich or the poor. Clarity of intent is essential for success.

Tahirs May 28, 2016 03:32pm

Storage and safety measures of these nukes are costing Pakistan more than it spends on its education and public health sectors. Nukes did not improve the education standards in Pakistan,neither they made Pakistanis a more healthy or intellectually enlightened nation.

Khwarezmi May 28, 2016 03:38pm

Without nuclear weapons: - A nuclear India would have invaded Pakistan, again, guaranteed. - America would respected Pakisyani suvereignty even less.

...all of Pakistan would have been a war zone by now.

Ashis May 28, 2016 03:49pm

You are one of the asset of entire south asia. People from both the countries need to listen to him.

Pakistan the Asian Super Power May 28, 2016 04:03pm

Superb Advise. Excellent Article. Balanced thought. After long time, I could read a good article in Dawn. Thanks prof. Hoodbhoy and Dawn. I am so impressed to know that there are people exist in Pakistan like professor Hoodbhoy.

Anwar May 28, 2016 04:22pm

The bomb definitely acts as a deterrent for mighty India. A full fledged war with the neighbor is now ruled out. Look at the positives and be happy even if other objectives have nor been met.

The illuminated one May 28, 2016 04:21pm

I think the bomb was a necessary evil as there was an existential threat in PK. Sure it didn't stop the surgical strikes against Bin Laden or Mullah but that is conflating two issues. Nukes have and will stop any overt or hot war. India would have striked PK many times over had it not been for nukes. Nukes were never meant and are not meant to deter surgical strikes from the US. Besides to you really think India would dare to do such a strike themselves? Of course not they are very well aware of the consequences and PK doctrine was targeted against INDIA not US, why else did they quickly test post India test? I usually like this author but on this I give him a poor mark for analysis. The prime benefit of nukes is intangible, as in detterance.

Dr Mazhar May 28, 2016 04:28pm

Great article Dr Hoodbouy, I would request dawn to translate this article in Urdu and publish in some Urdu newspaper. I will ask Indian thinkers to express their views and analyses on what India achieved from its nuclear ambitions.

Rehman proud indian May 28, 2016 04:29pm

Good article by Mr pervaiz.

Anwar May 28, 2016 04:32pm

Imagine Pakistan without the nuclear weapons if you can't value the importance of having them. Don't expect the bomb to solve all problems. It was not meant to fight terrorism within, nor was it meant to provide all basic necessities to the citizens. Be realistic! All problems do not have a common solution.

Zak May 28, 2016 04:40pm

@Pervez Hoodbouy: "Amazingly, both India and Pakistan forgot something basic — making nuclear weapons many decades after they were first made is a highly unconvincing claim to technological prowess."

But since then India has sent missions to moon and mars and launched a space shuttle and increased it's Forex reserves from $30 billion to $365 billion, It has also launched a ICBM and is partnering the international atomic fusion research reactor. It's PSLV rocket is world class and GSLV is maturing.

Two very different trajectories in the last 18 years. Pakistan needs to do more to catch up. Investment is needed in developing real technologies not just military ones.

Agha May 28, 2016 04:42pm

Please listen to this guy! He talks sense.

anon May 28, 2016 04:48pm

@Woz ahmed A very wise comment on yet another excellent piece from Prof. Hoodbhoy! I too believe that investments in education and health spending are badly needed in addition to the list that the article provides in its last paragraph ("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").

Indoaryan May 28, 2016 05:01pm

Once again Pervez Hoodbuoy, a very well known Pakistani Physicist had laid bare the realities of being a nuclear power in the South Asian context. But the power of your arguments will almost certainly fall on local deaf ears, what a pity, politicians in their pursuit of power will read it and bin it. Thank you for writing, as usual, a hard hitting article on IndoPak scenario. I am sure, one day, the people of the sub continent will rise up and take on board your brutal truth, till that time we just have to remind ourselves nuclear weapons will never be able buy us security or prosperity.

Manish May 28, 2016 05:03pm

thank you mr Pervez

El Cid May 28, 2016 05:29pm

Pakistan's Nukes have assured its survival. All else is academic.

probono Publico May 28, 2016 05:34pm

Both the nuclear power as well growth are simultaneously needed, what we ignored is the education, health, and well being of our masses.

freedom fighter May 28, 2016 05:34pm

Sir the same holds for India.We need to introspect deeply about the choices that we have made so far.

kanwarch May 28, 2016 05:54pm

@The illuminated one Totally agree with you. India dare not send any drones to Pakistan but with out nuclear detterant Modi would have done so many times.

Joy May 28, 2016 06:04pm

@Zak you are right. You had to wait till end of time Keep trying

Guest66 May 28, 2016 06:31pm

I was born 2 years younger than Pakistan , I am now in my last quart of my life cycle ( aged , retired and sort of a house dog so as to speak ! ) , I did not see nor I will see it happening in my entire life span ( a minute , an hour , a day , a week , a month , a year or decade more ! ) so its a pipers dream as such " to create a tolerant society which respects the rule of law " In reality entirely opposite has happened during my life span , the nation became more law avoiding, law breaking, intolerant than it was when I set my foot into this world ....

The illuminated one May 28, 2016 06:34pm

@kanwarch Exactly and they would have done much worse. Look what they are doing in Nepal etc. They would never do so if they had nukes

Hamid May 28, 2016 06:38pm

Excellent anasis Sir.l

Wasim May 28, 2016 06:40pm

@El Cid Do you realize that Pak after 1998 is in a much worse shape than it was pre-1998. So much for nukes.

SHAAN May 28, 2016 06:53pm

@AG Babar Dear friend Before 1998 it was non nuclear Pak and nuclear India for decades. Did anything wrong happened?

omveer May 28, 2016 06:56pm

Keep competing with India in nukes numbers and you will collapse like erstwhile USSR.

Kamal May 28, 2016 07:26pm

You have written from a scholar point of view. If we did not have Nuclear Bomb ,India was make us another Bangla Desh. Your scholarly thoughts does face the reality of modern warfare. Our Nukes are pure deterent.

TZaman May 28, 2016 07:42pm

Sir, in lighter note. Can't our great nuclear scientists transform Humans from sub-human fanatics?

AdHawk May 28, 2016 07:42pm

If nukes were so essential to survival why did the Soviet Union collapse? On the other hand, nations like Japan, Germany, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia and Vietnam picked themselves off the postwar ashes and built something real, a living nation.

s.khan May 28, 2016 08:05pm

Civilian leadership has to change significantly before any meaningful change can occur. It starts with good governance which means governing with an eye on the welfare of the people. A plan for economic growth is absolutely necessary to provide for an expanding population needing basic services-water, electricity, education and health care. The institutions-judiciary, police, civil bureaucracy have to be reformed to inject efficiency, transparency and accountability. Follow the example of Sweden where any citizen can go on line and look at the government activities. After civilian government has earned the support of the public it can take on the military to restore its basic function of defending the country. Erdogan of Turkey did it this way and the military, which like Pakistan's used to meddle, is now safely in the barracks. Sadly civilian leadership is lacking. Hopefully, next generation can produce a good leader who can change the trajectory of the country forward and upward

ROHIT PANDEY May 28, 2016 08:13pm

"Amazingly, both India and Pakistan forgot something basic — making nuclear weapons many decades after they were first made is a highly unconvincing claim to technological prowess."

I was very young when India exploded the first bomb "Smiling Buddha" in May 1974.

Yes, there was a huge burst of jingoism at that time and the NYT carried a cartoon of an emaciated skeletal Indian with a begging bowl asking for alms. It BIT AT THAT time BUT, it won't bite now.

Between 1974 and the early 1990's India's economic policies were becoming a millstone around its neck and the country drifted much as Pakistan is doing today.

India does NOT claim technological progress strength of its nuclear test in 1998.

It claims it as it is the world leader in software exports, a space program that is becoming increasingly successful, a pharmaceutical industry that is world class, a car that is world's cheapest, and a host of other things.

I deeply respect Dr Hoodbhoy but I choose to disagree here.

Thoughtful May 28, 2016 08:15pm

Will Pakistan military ever allow to keep peace with its neighboring countries? By fear mongering, the military is trying to prove the reasons for its existence. The slogan of war is in the interest of Pakistan army.

Saif Ali May 28, 2016 08:16pm

A realistic analysis by Dr. Hoodbhoy. But what about the nostalgia that this nation is suffering from? How to overcome that?

ROHIT PANDEY May 28, 2016 08:19pm

@Auginpk It has its use even without actually using it.

Exactly. It is very DANGEROUS, but it has its uses alright.

VV May 28, 2016 08:23pm

Well said. " Instead, the way forward lies in 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." This is exactly what the politicians should focus on. Will they?

ROHIT PANDEY May 28, 2016 08:25pm

The atomic bomb was supposed to create a state of bliss. Unsurprisingly that didn’t happen. Indeed, Pakistan’s security problems cannot be solved by expanding its missile fleet, buying more F-16s, or developing tactical nuclear weapons. Instead, the way forward lies in 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.

In short: learn from India. It took years and years of policy meandering and political short-sightedness before India could garner that " fastest growing economy" moniker...decades really..Pakistan seems to need a very tough social reform to fundamentally change the way it thinks about religion and its space it society which is hampering all progress including economic.

Kumar May 28, 2016 08:28pm

@Zak This type of thinking will keep Pakistan in dark ages for a long time.

Muhammad Ahsan May 28, 2016 08:29pm

Disagree! Respect for the Author's point of view and expectation which he mentioned above from Pakistan's nuclear plan . Let take it in that way ,what would have happened if we never made the explosions ,we might have situation like Afghanistan. This is not about India any more but about the threats to Pakistan from every where.

Kumar May 28, 2016 08:30pm

@Rajiv Mahajan India was already in the back yard of Nuclear China. India did not create nuclear weapons first.

LafangaTaimoorAkzakZak. May 28, 2016 08:32pm

@El Cid "Pakistan's Nukes have assured its survival. All else is academic." Then your future for ever will be struggle for "survival" only, and nothing more.

Tariq May 28, 2016 08:35pm

The atomic bomb was not supposed to create a state of bliss. It is a deterrent. If some nation armed with nuclear weapons decide to wipe out us once for all, they will at least think twice.

For a nation like Pakistan which has no military alliance and allies, this was the only possible and logical route. Happy triggers like current Indian PM or future US president Trump would not go nuclear route because of this capability.

As far as the cost is concerned, its cheaper than maintaining a fleet of F-16 jet fighters. It is possibly the cheapest form of defence. There is no doubt, however, that bombs alone can not make nations secure and stable. Economic and social stability is more important.

Tariq May 28, 2016 08:35pm

Pakistan should keep this deterrence as long as other nations have it,ans as long as Pakistan id inferior in conventional warfare to her enemies.

Now, yes we are poor, but that is not because of the bomb. Bad economic policies, corrupt rulers and poor education standards are the reasons, to mention a few.

A poor man should buy a gun or food. It depends where you live. If you live in a peaceful urban community buy food first and then some nice audio and video systems for entertainment. On the other hand if you live in a tribal area with no rule of law, buy a gun first and then food.

We live in a dangerous world where might is right and international law is violated by it enforcers everyday. We cannot leave national survival at the mercy of others, we will perish.

Writing on the wall May 28, 2016 08:48pm

As the learned professor has rightly said and also Air Marshal Asghar khan has been saying for many years, we have to spend the major chunk of the budget on human capital development i.e. education and healthcare and decentralize and devolve government besides defence, foreign policy etc. The military expenditure must be reduced in terms of headcount and it should be made lean and technologically advanced (better intelligence) and geared towards fighting terrorists and internal security. The threat is from within. If not then we are doomed and will continue to fall behind. We are already among the lowest in the human development index.

wiserneighbour May 28, 2016 09:17pm

For a country established out of hate & inability to co exist with other faiths,the agenda of aggression is the doctrine towards others.You were the aggressor all the time for whatever reasons you had to confront.So there is a famous proverb" the man who takes sword to destruct will perish by the sword"

RJM May 28, 2016 09:38pm

Absolutely true! Pakistan has been a security state ever since inception, preparing for war for the last 70 years even though India has never started any war with Pakistan though the opposite is true. It is high time that Pakistan leaves this obsession and concentrate on the welfare of its citizens which has been neglected for so long.

k k tiwari May 28, 2016 09:40pm

What an introspection sir !

Ashis May 28, 2016 09:41pm

@Pakistan the Asian Super Power why are you saying Pakista is the Asian Super power?

Prasad May 28, 2016 09:54pm

well put...but boys like to have their toys, right? ;)

Haris Maqsood May 28, 2016 09:56pm

@Shah. Well said Mr. Shah! I totally agree with you.

Serious Senior May 28, 2016 09:59pm

Dr. Parvez deserves a Noble award.

Some time we @ India feel that only a very handful thinkers are in Pakistan.

Dr. Parvez leads that group.

Haris Maqsood May 28, 2016 09:59pm

@A Pakistani I agree with you.

Deepak Kumar May 28, 2016 10:28pm

There was for almost 25 years a nuclear India and non nuclear Pakistan. India never attacked Pakistan or any other country in the entirety of its history. Fear is created to get the funds for the boys at the expense of poor masses

schal May 28, 2016 10:30pm

@Muhammad uzair May be you forgot the events before 1998, who showed aggression and who was to retreat.

Adnan May 28, 2016 10:32pm

Pervez Hoodbouy is dead wrong. Nuclear pakistan is the reason no other countries dare to invade pakistan fully. USA and India can't invade pakistan because of nuclear.

Concerned Muslim May 28, 2016 10:38pm

Well written articles. To make an assumption that having nuclear weapons would solve all present and future problems is like living in a dream land. Media and some public leaders are as always in their hyper enthusiasm claimed irrational things.

The bottom line was by developing nuclear weapons, the possibility of invasion from another country by conventional means would be substantially reduced. That was the only and only objective. All other things were creation of imaginative mind. Analysts should find out whether major objective has been achieved or not. Nuclear weapons never change the mindset of the population nor it help to open more schools or hospital. One success on area do not necessary give ripple down effect to other sectors. Achievement in other sectors require different planning, skills and priorities.

kanwarch May 28, 2016 10:40pm

@Deepak Kumar Sorry my friend India did attack Pakistan and played a leading a role in creation of Bangladesh and Modi has confirmed thathat recently. India and every bif country always bully smaller countries and some kind of deterrent is needed to stop that.

Thinker May 28, 2016 10:43pm

Wonderful article as usual by Dr Hoodbhoy & Dawn. I wish there was a newspaper like Dawn in India. I have to disagree one point though - possessing nuclear weapons is a minor mark, if at all, of technological prowess in India. I have experienced the change in mood in India over the last 25 years with increased enthusiasm to do and achieve technological success. I have seen a significant increase in number people who can afford more. These are the marks of technological prowess.

schal May 28, 2016 10:45pm

@fahd India was retaliating the aggressive Pakistani forces and even before 1998, it withdrew out of choice for peace. If you give a minute to think, India was never an aggressor. Even the genesis of Bangladesh and India's support to it was due to Pakistan's thoughtless step child treatment of its eastern part. It was only after great deliberation Indira Gandhi acted. It was purely a humanitarian response. The atrocities had to be stopped and the flood of refugees had to be stemmed. After the liberation of East Pakistan, India simply withdrew. Remember that Pak did not have nukes that time.

schal May 28, 2016 10:49pm

@Haris Maqsood Really, then terrorism must be the rest of the world's problem!!

Tahir A May 28, 2016 11:08pm


" USA and India can't invade pakistan because of nuclear."

You must be sleeping. The US drones are invading Pakistan almost daily. A combat helicopter force attacked Abbottabad in daylight. Tell us, how did the nuclear arson deter these invasions?

Bupi May 28, 2016 11:09pm

Some how truth but when footage of anything is false it never stands . Regarding birth of Pakistan it's not true rather it was ' division'of a Nation on two nation ???????? Pakistan Muslim nation rest of India was it Hindu nation ? Big No It remain Indian Nation & it is Indian Nation & ofcorce it will remain Big Indian Nation Godwillingly. Nobody cares how & by Pakistan broke into two & in reality Bangladesh took birth. Before that treatment given to Mohajirs who migrated from other parts of India . Till data they are treated as second class citizens. Forgot non Muslims were are they. Pakistan Government along with civil Society have no and. Today how boys in uniform treat it's Tribles or other apart from Punjabis rest all are second class citizens. It's not to late to see all inhabitants of Pakistan with one eye better treat fallow citizens equally.

Asif Mir May 28, 2016 11:17pm

Interesting comments in International news about the nuclear armed Pakistan - But with Pakistan spiraling down a financial sinkhole, with no money to even meet its commitments to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) according the Pakistani media, it remains to be seen how long Beijing will front for its client state that now appears to have been mostly abandoned by Washington.

M.Saeed May 28, 2016 11:19pm

The way forward definitely lies in building a sustainable and active democracy that creates an economy for peace rather than war but, the foremost hurdle in the way forward right from the day one is, the anchor-hold of feudal order. Then, there is mega-corruption deep-seeped into the roots of every arm of the Government.

gknatarajan May 28, 2016 11:30pm

the concluding para says it all!and i welcome it! let us be human first! when the whole world are talking about nuclear disarmament. poor countries like pak. and india, boasting of no. of nuclear war heads developed\under developing is sad and ditremtal to the huge poor population progress in asia!?

a May 28, 2016 11:30pm

@Bari If that is true, it would mean India should have attacked Pakistan immediately after 1971 BD victory and solved Kashmir once and for all. Every nation has its international compulsions. India signed Tashkent agreement under Soviet pressure and Shimla 1972 under US pressure.

Having said that, I still believe Indias best chance of solving Kashmir for itself once and for all was in 1971. Till about 1975. Between 1975 and 1979, Indira was weakened. The opportunity arose again in 1980. I still don't know why she didn't deal with Pakistan and delivered us our Kashmir.

Ashraf Quli May 28, 2016 11:38pm

@Saina You are absolutely right.

Narendra May 28, 2016 11:51pm

@Zak really what happened to article 48 on UNITED NATIONS?? if pakistan is so concerned why you didnt follow UN resolution, now please dont tell because of Shimla agreement, when it suits you bring shimla agrement and when it didnt work out you bring plebiscite, first decide which one you want to use..

Ali May 29, 2016 12:00am

Fine analysis.

fida USA May 29, 2016 12:02am

Pakistan needed a Nuclear Bomb, which it has. Now the time has come to make Pakistan stronger by adopting a good Education program. Follow Jinnah's secular and democratic agenda. Stop corruption and nepotism. Adopt good Agriculture policies to help poor Kissan and make life easier for him. Built infra-structure and industrialize the country. China's successes should be used as basis for future development.

fida USA May 29, 2016 12:05am

@F Khan Religion is the root cause of our problem, because it has been used to abuse our culture and statehood. Must follow in the foot step of Jinnah's Vision.

Exlim May 29, 2016 12:09am

Always a breath of fresh air. Dr. Hoodbhoy speaks without fear and is one of very few if any in Pakistan, to think clearly.

Keep it up sir.

NASR May 29, 2016 12:13am

@Ramesh What today we see in Pakistan is a result of a conspiracy by vested interest to keep this nuclear country busy with its internal conflicts so it cannot forge ahead with its nuclear abilities.

A Shah May 29, 2016 12:20am

@Zak and India will fight for freedom of illegally occupied Balochistan.

Irfan May 29, 2016 12:29am

Mr Hoodbhoy, you sound like a two bit American lackey of Americans. Had the contrary been true, you would have roundly criticized the Americans for ravaging Afghanistan, and Pakistan, under their neocon "Wide Spectrum". But since seem like a quisling to the nation which trusted you, that is the last thing to be expected.

Ashraf Quli May 29, 2016 12:40am

@khan You are right. Mr. Pervez Hoodbhoy is one of the very few persons in Pakistan who are bold and astute enough in telling the sheer truth, always.

Euro May 29, 2016 12:42am

The threat of Pak is not from india or any as perceived by Pak establishment of Army & radical islamists, its within, and the whole extremeists elements made HQ in the terriroty. The existence of Pak, its army and indian doctorine is prime base, and with nuclear or conventional or economic or militarily there isn o point of confrontations. Be wise to educate and bring an end to this indocortination or else perish°

Karim Mombani May 29, 2016 12:43am

Its not easy to stay away from this complex network of communication. You can't stay away from trouble, trouble will find you either way.... What Pakistan needs is to create space and environment for pluralism. Its a term more widely referred to as tolerant, free of extremism and enables people to accept and understand all cultures, religions with respect and empathy.................. Obviously removal and cleansing of the corrupt to revive the economy and gain financial stability............

Ashraf Quli May 29, 2016 12:44am

@Desi Jan Oh really!!!

MUDASSAR ASLAM May 29, 2016 01:09am

Whilst agreeing to most of what Professor has said but are the problems being faced by Pakistan currently due to the N bomb or our desire to have these? Becoming a nuclear power was one of very few successes our country had enjoyed in its brief history and inshallah others to follow in future as well...and yes buy addressing the issues highlighted by Mr. Hoodbhoy.

iftikhar Ahmed May 29, 2016 01:51am

But the Nuclear Bombs are now becoming hazardous to our selves (Pakistan) as Taliban and ISIS have very greedy eyes at them. Alarming what happened the other day; when a Battle Ship was attempted; by one of our own Islamic zealots; and there are thousands; rather millions of such like; it is now endemic. There are extents of trying to avoid; the way things are. For let us face it; this lot of villains are now very much within the Pak. Army. The Mullah element and the madrassas are way ahead of the diminishing sane ones in Pakistan.

Shahzad May 29, 2016 02:52am

As they say in comedy stage dramas, we have created the bomb but forget to make electercity, the bomb might just go off in the dark.

Salim May 29, 2016 03:57am

Dr Hoodbhoy wrote about a number of factors in the body of his article. His recommendations involved items such as feudalism, democracy, etc that had not been discussed in the text. If he had proved in the body of his article that these factors are damaging Pakistan, his article would have been more effective. Nice to hear a different point of view, and that too from one known to be brilliant. Salim

poker face May 29, 2016 04:12am

Great analysis by Parvez Hoodbouy . A very important developement that we could not foresee was where Pakistan would be in comparison with India after they both decide to explode the bomb . It is not that Indians did not expect Pakistan to explode their bomb once Indians did it . On the contrary , Indians knew exactly what Pakistan will do and Pakistan fell for this trap . Now look where Pakistan is and where India is going ? Pakistan should not compete with India at all . They have their own issues to deal with and competing with India does not bring any solutions to them . But if that makes you sleep better so be it . Going by the current situation , Indians are not complaining , in fact laughing .

Starzan May 29, 2016 04:52am

@Sachin Srivastava. And, still have world's largest over 950,000,000 (950-million out of estimated 1.2-billion population) people barely existing on less than $2-a-day. Shameful. Keep bragging!

Accountability May 29, 2016 05:09am

Achieving nuclear parity with India to thwart any agression from India on to Pakistan is one thing. But failing to deliver social and administrative reforms to people of Pakistan by its ruling class politicians is a different issue. Furthermore, politicians of past few decades have failed to develop a foreign policy that project Pakistan as a truly democratic and progressive society in the world. Nuclear or no nuclear, it takes dedicated leaders of vision to propel a country and its people towards advancement. Long live Pakistan.

analyzer May 29, 2016 05:38am

well explained. there sould be rational criticism on policies like this . The bomb ultimately helped India too. Any war would assume several hundreds soldiers lives. so preventing war means saving precious lives.... by the by there is no extreeme benifit which pakisthan got with this ....

J Abid May 29, 2016 05:47am

100% correct analysis.

If someone can heed in Pakistan.

Ghuncha Gul Khan May 29, 2016 05:50am

Japan suffered horrendously from the aftermath of nuclear attack on its two cities, Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Yet after the war it chose to focus on building its economy and not wasting its resources on bomb-making technology. It should be a role model for poor countries like Pakistan. Bombs cannot feed a starving nation.

jumpstart May 29, 2016 07:18am

primary school education , primary health care , environment compliant human population ( both nos & sensitivity) ,new renaissance in sub continent make wish list more concrete achieve east european standards of living in next 15 years , that will be more worthy cause to celebrate than destructive things ...both india and pakistan

Niti May 29, 2016 07:59am

Sir Your article is good and eye opener for peoples who hold pride of having nuke bomb and not for policy maker.

I would also like to request you to express your views through article on " What Pakistan achieved or loss on it's 60 years Kashmir policy?"

Currently, as you said, no one even UN, listen Pakistan views on Kashmir issues. Last many years every time, your UN ambassador talk on Kashmir and rest nation listen... That's it....

Sameer May 29, 2016 08:21am

Best article ever to come out of hoodbhey so far. Unfortunately the country's losses for growth are mired not only by nukes sustenence but also our inability to act in our national interests.

Ayub May 29, 2016 08:40am

A very good and sensible advice in the last lines of the article.

Mustafa R. May 29, 2016 08:44am

Nobody is suggesting that we solve the corruption problem by dropping a nuclear bomb on Panama. The nuclear bomb only ensures that when the country rises up against the status quo, the status quo doesn't get help from offshore 'democracies'.

M. Waseem Vohra May 29, 2016 11:15am

Pervez Hodbouy comments are taken with a pinch of salt and would be considered negative overall

Dr. Syed Rizvi May 29, 2016 11:22am

I am wondering why does not the Indian media write what Mr Hoodbhoy has written though euphemistically it is applicable to Indian nuclear program as well. Points to ponder!!

AHMED May 29, 2016 11:22am

Being a nuclear country is a bliss. We are proud of all those scientists, engineers, workers and military personnel who made the defense of Pakistan impregnable. If Pakistan was not a nuclear power it may have been attacked from Indian and Afghan side. And we would have been like Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya etc.
Our Great Pervez Hoodbouy should ponder if USA brought its allies and spent hundred of billions of dollars to kill a few Al Qaida persons!! What were and are American designs? Only muslim countries are being attached!!
How can Kashmir be compared with Baluchistan? Why did not condemn those who are paying to create trouble in Pakistan as a policy and training camps in Afghanistan?
Pakistan is militarily strong. So our borders are secure.
Our failure is our leaders, who have been plundering the country and hide money in Swiss banks, and elsewhere and buy properties outside the country. The situation will change as Pakistan is a dynamic country.

Khawar Saleem Aslam May 29, 2016 11:41am

Good article from a professor advocating peace and economic development; written in Pakistani perspective but equally applicable to all countries.

AHMED May 29, 2016 11:43am

@Thoughtful, I think here you missed something, our civilian government leaders and bureaucracy are watching their personal interests and see how quickly how much they can accumulate. Nepotism and corruption are rampant. No body cares for the public or its welfare. We find a scapegoat and keep ourselves satisfied. Military is doing its job, it is defending international borders and helping restore law and order in the country and also is on the forefront in all emergencies, like floods, earthquakes and so on. It is a successful institution of Pakistan.

SQ May 29, 2016 12:38pm

One of the few sane voices amidst the collective insanity of religious fervor and empty slogans, but like others have pointed out, it will find very few takers. In absence of education and enlightened thinking, our delusions of grandeur would not go away so easily. We cannot even clean garbage dumps from our own streets but we will save the ummah!

touqeer khan May 29, 2016 01:10pm

atomic bomb can not guaranty a safe Pakistan. it is education, accountability, democracy which can make Pakistan a strong and reliable country . through military out of politics is need of hour.

Shahwar May 29, 2016 01:13pm

But pakistan was a democracy when it triggered the bomb and pakistan is a democracy today. why dont you accept all what you said as a failure of democracy as is evident, rather you speak of democracy as a solution to the problem it created itself.

Conservative May 29, 2016 02:08pm

I agree with most of the facts narrated by Dr Hoodbhoy but please try to recall Indian news channels comments and barrages against Pakistan soon after explosions of their nuclear bombs in 1998. I believe Pakistan's reaction did provide a sense of security and deterrence.

Kailash May 29, 2016 02:19pm

I thought my weapons were protecting me...

The awakening came when I realized that the same weapons have held me captive.

Kailash May 29, 2016 02:25pm

@Maxx, "Pakistan would have been another Iraq, Afghanistan without the nuclear weapons and a strong Army"

And I guess you are living in a Jannat right now.

Bharat from australia May 29, 2016 02:37pm

Wise man Prof. All my respects to you Let me see what you gave up by spending so much money on Nukes and your army over the last 70 years Firstly, you gave away good education .Maddrassas are the worst possible education you can have. There is no science, no art, no maths , and worst of all critical thinking is suppressed

And most economists will tell you that education is going to be the most important ingredient in the next 100 years

You also gave up spnding on good infrastructure . Another important ingredient for development

Did India really have any designs ? . The only time India interfered was when India was affected badly during the East Pakistan fiasco

Why would Ndia bother to invade, unless bad governance affects India in a dire way? Bad decisions , and bad politics are made on the basis of not really cutting and dicing the situation such as that of East Pakistan. Not having any type of critical thinking

Ankush May 29, 2016 02:39pm

You make choices, and then your choices make you.

Tamil Guru May 29, 2016 03:33pm

I salute Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy for his vision, views and his rational thinking. Pakistan needs more people like him to move forward in this modern world.

USMAN May 29, 2016 04:14pm

@Tahir A Well Sir the answer is No country uses nuclear weapons to Nuke special forces or armed drones they are used in case of full fledged war not against the forces doing targeted operations this is the limitation only conventional force can be used which we are not willing to use due to reasons known to every one

Eramanagalam Somapalan May 29, 2016 04:42pm

A wise and noble thinker indeed!

Fried Chillies May 29, 2016 05:49pm

I respect Pervez Hoodbhoy even when he is critical of India for he has sound argument. But as someone commented above the deep seated angst against India which talks about'now' giving up notorious means reflects the approach

Rafah May 29, 2016 05:52pm

@Zak When are you laying down your life?

Maneesh May 29, 2016 05:53pm

It seems you are trying to project both India and Pak did the first explosion around same time. The truth is India did it three decades earlier and we are world leaders in many scientific fields unlike Pak. Also you seems to be trying to do the balancing act of highlighting the problem as well as not getting into the bad books of your khakis. Good try there.

Alfred Wagner May 29, 2016 06:02pm

@LafangaTaimoorAkzakZak. "Then your future for ever will be struggle for "survival" only, and nothing more." You have not understood what El Cid said. What he said is fact: Without survival, without life, there is no future.

Rohit May 29, 2016 06:10pm

We will fight for Kashmiris and Kashmir liberation till the end of times, we will spare no effort to help Kashmiris , everyday Pakistanis are fighting in IHK and embracing martyrdom .@Zak

This world will end before you get an "inch" of Kashmir........

Kulsoom Zohar May 29, 2016 06:16pm

@El Cid: Very well stated El Cid. No question about it. Without survival all else is indeed academic.

excalibur May 29, 2016 06:46pm

would Hoodbhoy care to enumerate the negatives and positives for Pakistan without a nuclear capability since 1998 ?

Agha Ata May 29, 2016 06:53pm

The top priority of Pakistan is education, then anything else. Imagine if all this money was spent on education, billion and billions of dollars, where we would have been!

SAJJAD HUSSAIN May 29, 2016 06:53pm

that is not a substantial title

HK May 29, 2016 07:09pm

India is a space power, developing thorium reactors, n-subs, n- aircraft carrier, medical research etc.

and missiles can be shot down using AAD.PAD,S 400 triumph, iron dome, spyder, iron beam,french-indian missiles etc. u will get hit before u attempt.

spy satellites can easily track pak weapons.

Abbas Naqvi May 29, 2016 07:10pm

Yes, the way forward is what the writer has suggested. But who will deliver? The leadership in Pakistan lacks the quality and character to bring about a change that could place Pakistan at a higher padestal of pride and performance. The Pakistani mind and thinking needs a strong jolt to revert to its originality and rediscover its identity, purpose and direction. Such a transformation is possible through revival of national spirit and strength, introducing good governance, uplifting moral values and character, providing affordable education to all and demonstrating a strong degree of commitment, integrity and honesty in serving the country. Politico-economic strength thus achieved would make nuclear weapons needless.

Sachin May 29, 2016 07:19pm

The problem is not nuclear weapons. The real problem is that Armed forces do not listen to elected civilian PM. Any country with dual powercenters will fail due to internal struggles. If everyone loves the Army so much , fine, give all development work- roads electric trade schools health responsibilities to Army as well.

Gururaj B N May 29, 2016 07:28pm

Nuclear weapons are an expensive deterrent at best, and a source of general risk in this age of terrorism. After Nagasaki and Hiroshima, who has used nuclear weapons in a war situation?

Rex Minor May 29, 2016 08:09pm

@Agha Ata d The top priority of Pakistan is education, then anything else. Imagine if all this money was spent on education, billion and billions of dollars, where we would have been!

Good point! Now pose the supremo author the question as to how many of the students he has assiste and mentored for a Phd? The prompt answer would be none because they are not competent enough. take care. Rex Minor

Baxter May 29, 2016 08:14pm

Great write up. Respect!

AG May 29, 2016 09:37pm

As expected, every year since '98 I expect one speech from NS and the other from PH.

sajjad May 29, 2016 09:59pm

Excellent, superb, out of ordinary. Wish, people at large were more aware and empowered and the forces of tyranny less powerful, then , this message would have resonated in every nook and cranny of this benighted land.

Mustafa R. May 29, 2016 10:47pm

@Dr. Syed Rizvi;

'I am wondering why does not the Indian media write what Mr Hoodbhoy has written'

Propagandists have a target audience, any good propagandist should be able to tell different things to different audience.

Junaid May 29, 2016 11:36pm

Actually, we are seeking a responsible person. Who not only will protect the nation but also will teach the nation.

Vorshal May 29, 2016 11:59pm

@Zak -- As usual, your comments may be patriotic but in the end such statements will go nowhere, and you will see it all your life!

Jawaid kamal May 30, 2016 12:37am

Great critical analysis as always.too much chest thumping, but no real. Solutions,

Walid Hussain May 30, 2016 02:16am

What good is all that most costly nuclear bombs. If anything; its a deterrant now; when the Taliban and ISIS are bent on laying their dirty hands on them. Besides; what is essentially more important; a continued supply of electricity or Bombs? Perhaps this is the only nation that is bereft of the most important segment; and I must say; the Pakistani is one of the most tolerant people. They should have come out on the streets long since. Besides; have you ever thought; what have the Khakies ever done to curb this horrible situation.

jam shed May 30, 2016 02:24am

Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy is well respected professor of Physics, peace activist, anti-nuclear lobbyist, very articulate when it comes to explaining things in lay man's term but very idealist in his approach. He is never as forceful or critical of India as he is of Pakistan for reasons he only knows. India was the responsible for introduction of nuclear weapons in 1974, sponsored of state terrorism in 1971 and continue to do so from Afghanistan and finally proliferation and nucleari-zation of Indian ocean with the introduction of Russian made nuclear submarine.
Dr Hoodbhoy arguments are sometimes flawed, mostly academic one-sided, tacitly supporting Indian stand. The world and the neighborhood Pakistan lives in does not work the way he thinks.

NAdeem Ahmed May 30, 2016 05:17am

We have a largest population lives in the jail in American than any other nation in the world. Yet we are still super power even though we owe to the world $18 trillion dollars. We have less educated people in the USA than we have well educated foreigners in the USA. What America did to Japan that's what Pakistan need to do to India regardless of the consequences, otherwise this problem will not be resolved.

Asif May 30, 2016 07:58am

The nuke are deterrent alright. No country now wants to even come to Pakistan to even play cricket

Tamil May 30, 2016 10:11am

@Zak and we have done this by ballooning our national debt to $480 billion and our peoples poverty increases. What a price to pay at the cost of the poor and what what? We need to get our priorities right.

Zak May 30, 2016 10:17am

Not impressed with author writings.

Zak May 30, 2016 10:40am

It is because of our Nucleuar capabilities that india has been restrained from misadventurism in the entire region. The author conveniently ignores events between 1974 to date ; revolution in Iran 1979, Soviet invasion of Afghanistan 1979, collapse of Soviet Union 1991, kashmiri freedom movement becomes violent in indian occupation 1989, US 9/11, US invasion of Afghanistan 2001, US pushes Al Qaeda into Pakistan, CPEC and rise of a super power China. India's tottering economy with a ballooning debt of $500 billion.

Sarmad Hussain May 30, 2016 11:11am

Pervez Hoodbhoy has not been happy from the fact that a Muslim nation is able to defend itself from the fanatic powers of America, Europe and India in case of an all out war. Our nation is only 68 years old. We will emerge as an economic power also, God willing. Hoodbhoy will not be successful in his propaganda services that he's offering on behalf of our enemies to demotivate our new generations.

SKS May 30, 2016 11:26am

People who think India doesnt protest or write like Dr. Hoodboy against nuclear energy/devices, google-Udhyakumar, Kudankulam. 24 villages are protesting for more than 2 YEARS. We are a true democracy and proud of it. But there is a difference between India and Pakistan, India tolerates nuclear energy out of necessity and it is not the ONLY jewel in the crown.

Realist May 30, 2016 11:26am

If there were no bomb, he would have been calling himself a Professor of Physics teaching in India rather than a Professor of Physics teaching in Pakistan on his resume. That should say all about why the bomb is necessary.

kanwarch May 30, 2016 12:02pm

Totally disagree with him on this matter. With out nuclear power our fate will be similar to Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan. I agree that now is the time to concentrate on education, human development and good governance and the atomic technology is not stopping us do that but gives us confidence to progress with out being bullied by our big neighbor

Dinesh May 30, 2016 12:05pm

Very great and good - thought provoking article. Thumps up :)

Vish May 30, 2016 02:38pm

You should be nominated directly as PM of Pakistan Period., atleast next generation would lead their life in peace...

batman May 30, 2016 02:51pm

Time to move on We in India long ago realized N.Weapons are not going to feed citizens. Thus we are day and night working on various schemes to promote employment. Hope our neighbours realize that too.

Indian Brother May 30, 2016 03:54pm

Great thoughts , excellent if political system can become mature and set itself free from fear, hatred, revenge , false pride and other negative ideologies. the real problems in future are food and energy security . This is an excellent, excellent excellent article...Thanks for having such minds .

Socrates of Gilgit-Baltistan May 30, 2016 04:18pm

There seems still light at the end of the tunnel. But what is necessary is a clear intention on the part of both political & military leadership otherwise only dreaming about transforming the whole Ummah on the patterns of the past when the situation at hand is still that of an ignorant prrson claiming to know about Islam which is the religion of nature would yeild nothing but exploitation of the masses by a resourceful few. It is high time to rein in the socalled fake custodians of religion whom are nothing but the agents of seemingly friendly countries but in reality awoved enemies of Pakistan and have the courage to reclaim the country back from them so as to achieve that bliss which is there to be possessed by the worthy of it. See the terrorists and their handlers. Otherwise all indications point towards the fact that difficulties for the country are going to be deacreased allvof a sudden and irony of the matter is the inability of all those who claim to tackle them. Beware!

Zak May 30, 2016 04:41pm

@Narendra it looks you have not read the UN resolutions. Let me educate you once again. There are 21 points on the resolution, 2 for Pakistan, 2 for both jointly and 17 for India to implement. Pakistan implemented its 2 fully. India did not fulfil even one. Why do you think India evades, runs, hides at mention of UN resolution. your distorted, manipulated education system is exposing itself as sub standard once again.

Zak May 30, 2016 04:41pm

All these issues will disappear after UN kashmir plebiscite.

sadam May 30, 2016 05:49pm

@Saina i think this is the country who produced voice like that....means Pakistan has the atmosphere where people can challenge even national me someone from India as well.

R S Chakravarti May 30, 2016 06:02pm

@NAdeem Ahmed What about the consequences?

Arshad , Canada May 30, 2016 06:56pm

@Irfan Ullah , This is call "head in the Sand"

Arshad , Canada May 30, 2016 06:59pm

I notice all the Indian really liked the article without even looking into the mirror.

Shah (Berlin) May 30, 2016 07:32pm

Dear Hoodbouy, PART1

i would disagree with you. The rules of engagement in war, be it between rival countries or companes, keeps on changing with time. You develop some thing and your rival finds a cure or develop some thing better or tries to hit you from a different angle. I dont understand, what has our society development to do with our missiles. I am disappointed that a person of your caliber did not do enough research on this topic.

Dr.Mohammad N.Fareed May 30, 2016 07:44pm

As usual great words of wisdom from Dr.Hoodbhoy but the nation is kept deliberately illiterate by the feudal lords so they can't understand these pearls of wisdom and rather follow the rhetoric of the corrupt to the core politicians.

v.sreenis May 30, 2016 08:17pm

As usual a good article by the author, but is there anyone that matters listening?

Eramanagalam Somapalan May 30, 2016 08:54pm

@Realist He is welcome anywhere as a good professor, it is Pakistan's good luck that he is there. Indians are not that lucky to have such a sage.

Eramanagalam Somapalan May 30, 2016 08:58pm

@Zak Best help you can do to Kashmir people is to leave them alone. What you propose to do with large Shia Muslims, Christians and Buddhists after you save Kashmir?

Ibrahim May 30, 2016 09:04pm

Brilliant article

ayesha May 30, 2016 09:21pm

A case of misplaced priorities. writer may have blurred the sagrigation between defence requirement under politico-military compulsion with the bad governance of following years. Though a question could be that the focus with which nuclear technology has been developed in weaponising, much more zealous focus was required to develop civilian use like energy, medicine, agriculture and many more utilisation. But the onus of failure squarely lies with musharaaf and his cronies.

Krish May 30, 2016 10:15pm

@Starzan Check your facts before verbal vomiting

Desi Jan May 30, 2016 10:45pm

@Ashraf Quli ....Of course no doubt about it. This is what recent contemporary history tells you.

Gnanesh May 30, 2016 11:32pm


You are most welcome to tour India and study our education system from K.G. to Ph.D. And have the courage and will to compare it with what is there in Pak.

We'll await your unbiased analysis, which is the hallmark of a great and matured mind. We'll agree that you have one after seeing the report.

BharatRakshak May 30, 2016 11:37pm

@Khwarezmi Even having nukes it's a war zone isn't it ? Nukes were supposed to Save you , now you are spending billions on saving them from wrong hands isn't it ? So much for a sovereign nation , America paying no respect for a nuclear state sending drones in a daylight , and whats Pakistan doing about it ?

Both India n Pakistan have nukes but are they in the same condition ? Need to introspect buddy.