KARACHI has been abundantly endowed with one of nature’s riches — wind. Located on the Arabian Sea coast, the city cannot complain of being stifled by desultory stillness. Before the city’s horizon changed drastically with the emergence of high-rise buildings, Karachiites had always enjoyed the luxury of cool breezes during summer evenings. The breeze is still there, but has been trapped by concrete and steel structures. Now the breeze has been left only in poetic idiom to give us solace. Faiz Ahmed Faiz captured its beauty in this line, “Jaise seheraon mein haule se chale baad-i-naseem…” (Like the morning breeze in the desert) Continue reading Miracle of the wind→
PAKISTAN`S nuclear programme is once again under fire. This time the legality of its deal with China for two nuclear reactors ostensibly for civilian purposes is being questioned.
The US has demanded an explanation from Beijing and has asked for details of the accord it concluded with Islamabad three months ago. It wants to be sure that China is not violating the international obligations it undertook when it joined the 46-member Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The NSG is a regulatory body to oversee trade in nuclear fuel and technology to ensure that material for civilian energy is not used for manufacturing weapons. Continue reading The Chashma deal→
AS Pakistan plods on with its war in Malakand against the Taliban and struggles to cope with the hundreds of thousands who are being displaced, controversy over its nuclear arsenal would be the last thing it would ask for. Continue reading How many bombs will deter→
DR A.Q. KHAN, who is a hero to many as the father of Pakistan`s atom bomb, was declared a free citizen by the Islamabad High Court last week. The government has said it will appeal against the ruling.
Yet many rejoiced at Dr Khan`s winning his freedom that was said to be limited by mutually agreed conditions imposed on him by the government. The scientist has promised to spend his days spreading education though it is not clear what his message will be. Continue reading Dr Khan’s new mission→
Peace activists in Pakistan and India are attempting desperately to be heard above the din raised by warmongers – elitist by all counts and claiming to be patriotic as well – in the wake of the Mumbai carnage. Jingoism is in the air – be it from so-called nationalists (posing as analysts on television) advocating a nuclear attack for the defense of their country, or the man on the street. Be they from Pakistan or India, they speak of war with great abandon as if it is child’s play. For the electronic media it is a race for sensationalism.
SIXTY years ago on August 6, 1945, President Harry Truman issued a statement in Washington saying, “Sixteen hours ago an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima, Japan and destroyed its usefulness to the enemy. That bomb had more power than 20,000 tons of TNT. It had more than two thousand times the blast power of the British “Grand Slam”, which is the largest bomb ever yet used in the history of warfare.”
This event, which was underplayed at the time in terms of the human devastation it caused, changed the world for ever. This is what the crew of Enola Gay, the plane which dropped the atomic bomb nicknamed Little Boy, had been given to understand.
The world did change but in a terrifying way. Hiroshima marked the ushering in of the atomic age. Historians dispute the American contention that the use of the atom bomb, that killed 150,000 instantly or within a few days, led to the quick Japanese surrender and saved thousands of American lives. The Japanese emperor was preparing to end the war even without the use of the atom bomb. Be that as it may, this is not disputed that the use of nuclear weapons for the first time transformed radically the pattern of war and international relations. Continue reading Unlearnt lesson of Hiroshima→
THE NPT review conference which collapsed with a whimper at the end of May went practically unnoticed in Pakistan. This indifference can be attributed to the fact that Islamabad, along with New Delhi and Tel Aviv, was not present at the conference which brought 188 NPT signatories together in New York for their five-yearly exercise.
Another reason for not taking note of the event is the apathy in this country towards nuclear weapons. The conference ended a day before the seventh anniversary of Pakistan’s own nuclear tests at Chaghai. It might seem rather strange that apart from a few peace activists no one even remembered that catastrophic day when Pakistan opted for the road which can prove to be self-destructive. Continue reading Nonproliferation: failure yet again→
THE non-proliferation treaty review conference being held in New York since May 2 is the biggest hoax in the history of nuclear disarmament negotiations. There is a lot of sound and fury that is being generated at the moot. But it seems strange that the thrust of the nuclear club’s attack is against the supposedly aberrant states in the Third World.
At the same time, a blind eye is turned to the inherent inequity envisaged in the treaty that was concluded in 1968 and came into force in 1970. What is more, the haves of the nuclear world appear to be acquiring greater privileges and power while the have-nots are being pushed further against the wall. This inequality in their relationship has been growing with the passage of time causing greater discontent globally. Continue reading Non-proliferation dilemma→
The India-Pakistan dialogue has had many ups and downs since it was launched last year. The fact is that every time there is a “down” there are many who wait with bated breath and keep their fingers crossed.
Is there need for this over-reaction – if one may call it so? Yes, if one remembers that both India and Pakistan now have nuclear capability and could use nuclear weapons if war breaks out between them. They have threatened to do so, at least on one occasion. Continue reading Learning from Hiroshima→