Nuclear Pakistan: inevitable necessity
By Ata Rabbani | Published: June 28, 2009
Why be nuclear? Some affluent, powers particularly of the West became nuclear as a hobby and to show off their power but a few others did that out of necessity for their existence as an independent and sovereign country; Pakistan included.
Admitted, to become nuclear is costly, shall we say, very very costly and once that is achieved it devolves deep responsibility and restraint; there are countries that aspire for the coveted bomb in spite of the risk of UN sanctions. The question is what is so attractive about it. Two of the primary reasons to go nuclear are: One; to subjugate, silence and browbeat one's so-called enemy or potential enemy countries as the USA did in World War II to silence and eliminate Japan by dropping two atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Two; to safeguard and deter others from subjecting a similar action against you. In plain words to deter aggression against your country.
As far as Pakistan is concerned it has neither any aggressive designs against any country nor the resources and economic capability to reconstruct and rehabilitate any devastated land thus annexed. Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is purely deterrent.
Pakistan has in India a very powerful and extremely hostile neighbour that is over five times bigger in size, manpower, economic resources, well trained and more sophistically equipped armed forces with well provided recovery capabilities, Pakistan no doubt has equally well disciplined and trained armed forces but these are much inferior in numbers and equipment's. It is fact of history that in all the conventional wars fought so far between the two countries Pakistan never got better of India that is Bharat.
I am sure and it ought to be clear in the right thinking Pakistani minds that days of chivalry when one Muslim was good enough for ten adversaries are now over, this is the twenty-first century and with the changed politico strategic environments and advanced and sophisticated weaponry it is not on for us to march on to Lal Qila in New Delhi. Sooner we apprehend it the better. In the short course of our history we have known that in conventional conflict. Pakistan cannot match the armed might of India. Pakistan therefore must try to prevent that situation to arise and for this Pakistan going nuclear was the only option.
Lately there had been lot of talk decrying the need of Pakistan going nuclear. Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy had been in the forefront, along with a few of his ilks, of this non-nuclear Pakistan campaign. A former senior bureaucrat, one time chief secretary of Sindh has now jumped into the foray in denouncing Pakistan being nuclear with an article titled Nuclear Asset or Liability in one of the leading dailies on June 7, 2009. To start with the very caption of this article is misleading as from it the reader expected that the main thrust and the theme of this article would be against Pakistan being nuclear. It was not. It was only causally commented upon in the concluding part of the article.
The author started by referring to a recent statement of Dr A Q Khan alright but then filled up more than half a column in quoting an editorial and in defending, America, Israel and India for not being responsible for our woes. He talked about Talibans and Hillary Clinton's concern about a nuclear Pakistan as a "mortal threat to international security." He ridicules that the Pakistani bomb is no pride for Muslim countries, the proof is that Iranians or an Arab, an Indonesian or a Malaysian, is hardly ever seen on the streets of Pakistan. They all go to India. All this is irrelevant in this context. He talked about Kashmir and advised Pakistan to renew the search for a peaceful solution to Kashmir and once Kashmir is out of the way the two neighbours can look upon each other as potential markets, not battlefields "Yes, if Kashmir is out of the way." The author seems to have a political solution of the Kashmir problem in his pocket. Bravo! The author shyly admits that "owning bombs may have had a purpose in the time of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto or even Nawaz Sharif, there is none any longer." One may ask, has there been any change of hearts in the Indian mind, have they become good and started to abide by the Indus Water Treaty, have they closed their 27 consulates along the Pakistan borders in Afghanistan and withdrawn their troops ostensibly engaged in training Afghan army, have they stopped insurgency in Balochistan? If answers to these questions are in the negative then how does he conclude that "nor does India have any grounds to attack Pakistan." He has also mentioned in passing the name of Pakistan's pride scientist Dr Abdus Salam but it had no relevance to Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. Dr Salam should have been better left alone. These are some of the points that he has talked about in his article which in my view are irrelevant to the subject of "Nuclear asset or liability" in respect of Pakistan.
The sentence that stands out in the former chief secretary's statement is "making nuclear bombs has not made us any safer; it has made us poorer." It is just like suggesting to some one to stop eating and divert that money you spend on food to amass wealth and buy other leisure's and pleasures. The person thus may accumulate wealth alright but the starving fossil gradually embraces the next world. What good is this wealth that he had gathered or the pleasure items that he had thus acquired?
The foremost necessity for Pakistan is its security and independence as a sovereign state. If the very existence of the country is threatened by a powerful hostile neighbour like India then what good is its accumulated wealth. The author himself has tacitly agreed to the deterrent value of the bomb when he said: "Surely, neither side would like to see Delhi and Lahore reduced to rubble and millions killed or crippled for generations."
With this admission there is no need of any further arguments and the case is closed in favour of Pakistan to be nuclear as an essential necessity and imperative to keep off aggressive India.
These gentlemen who advocate no nuclear arsenal for Pakistan are oblivious of the facts of history of the subcontinent where the majority community, which is now Hindustan, spared no attempt to physically obliterate the minority community (Muslim) and even openly threatened to "throw them into the Indian Ocean." It remained only empty rhetoric.
India cannot change its attitude about Pakistan, it had never reconciled with the division of the subcontinent and ever since has been trying to undo the division, and partially succeeded in 1971 by severing Pakistan's eastern wing. Five explosions in 1998 by Pakistan changed the situation and forced India to change its tactics. Now it depends on insurgency in FATA, Waziristan and Balochistan and diversion of water of rivers like Chenab against the International Water Treaty. But dare no more use of its armed forces on battle fields.
The bomb has done its job. God bless nuclear Pakistan.
The writer is former ADC to Quaid-i-Azam Nuclear Pakistan: inevitable necessity | Pakistan | News | Newspaper | Daily | English | Online Please add your own comments to the news article as per the DT rules. This will help in having a controlled and guided discussions with little chance of going off topic.