Pervez Hoodbhoy in his recent article has miss represented the facts about the nuclear capability of Pakistan in an effort to discredit its effectiveness therefore creating a bases for his argument that Pakistan should freeze or completely dismantle the nuclear program of Pakistan.

His effort to compare Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program to the countries like North Korea which have so far done nothing other than failing again and again in as shown by their nuclear and ballistic missile test results.

Pakistan on the other hand have been able to develop a complete nuclear fuel cycle which in itself is a great achievement not to mention the fact that PAEC have done a wonderful job by completing the task at hand. If and when our government tasks PAEC to design and build Nuclear Power Reactors along with the appropriate budget only then can PAEC can focus its efforts on on designing building power reactors until then they keep building the infrastructure that is need by Pakistan to support both civil and military needs in field of nuclear technology.

Pakistan’s nuclear program is much more advance then that of North Korea with its program based on both Uranium and Plutonium based boosted nuclear weapons. Superiority of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program over our intended enemy has been acknowledged many times by the independent international research institutes. Pakistan’s nuclear weapons delivery systems includes advance weapons like solid fuel medium range ballistic missiles carrying advance maneuverable reentry vehicles that contain terminal guidance for pinpoint accuracy of few dozens of meters rather than thousands of meters in case of north Korea. Our forces are equipped with Babur GLCM and Ra’ad ALCM that can achieve accuracy of less than 3 meters after covering distance of hundreds of kilometers.

Yes, we should ask our self what we as a nation have gained from the development of nuclear technology in general and nuclear weapons in particular.

No country can survive without a strength to defend itself and there are number of examples that are present in front of our eyes but question is do we need one? I am asking this question because we have faced an enemy that has always tried its best to grab each and every opportunity to attack and destroy our nation.

Analyzing the current situation in Pakistan and using it to say that development of nuclear weapons is a mistake or did not had its advantages is nothing but signs of lack of understanding on author’s part about Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program and its objectives. Contrary to writer’s claims Pakistan haven’t lost its territory to the insurgents and  small part of Pakistan which was and is controlled by them is due to lack of our political resolve rather than lack of military capability.

Its is the politicians who should be blamed for allowing such elements to control the areas and speaking against any action taken by the military against such elements. Nuclear weapons were never meant to defend from few miscreants who kill for power or money. Our nuclear weapons program was developed to stop India from launching a war that would result in breakup of Pakistan like 1971 and no one can argue that presence of nuclear weapons have achieved that objective again and again in last three decades.

Look at the past before Pakistan had nuclear weapons, we had an enemy trying its level best to disintegrate our country and now Pakistan have same enemy which has grown in power may folds with weapons of mass destruction of its own. But now they even don’t talk about a full scale war.

Anyone who believed that development of nuclear weapons will lead towards better education or improvement of health etc must be living in a fool’s paradise because that is never the case. Development of nuclear weapons was not a magical stick that can be used to change whole of Pakistan with our changing the system. It was a sign of light in darkness that showed that we as a nation can achieve anything if we work hard to achieve it. Success of our nuclear weapons program showed that Pakistan as a nation have enough talent to achieve anything if provided with proper tools. Pakistan was able to achieve something that nations with unlimited budgets with all of their oil money are failing to achieve.

The use of disagreement among the provinces is not in any way relevant to the nuclear weapons program because no Pakistani irrespective of their origins is saying nuclear weapons program should not have been started. Should I remained the writer that it was the brave son Sindh that started the development of our nuclear weapons program and it was her daughter that started the development of our ballistic missile program and even as of now in Pakistan there is government of no other person but of a Son of Sindh. Therefore do not try to use the anti Punjab or Islamabad sentiments to promote your agenda of surrender of Pakistan’s nuclear program.

As far as Baluchistan is concerned again writer tried to build castle in air by saying that few fractions of Bloch are turning against the central government just because of our nuclear weapons program. Perhaps writer should take a hard look at our history and situation in Baluchistan. It is the lack of equal opportunity in development that people are demanding. But writer’s assertions of linking it to the Pakistan’s nuclear program are complete misrepresentation of facts on the writer’s part.

The argument like India wouldn’t like to attack a nation like ours as they won’t want to add 170 million Muslims is not even close to reality as he forgets that basic fact that India had always tried to dismantle Pakistan into smaller states that it can coerce like Nepal and Bangladesh.

Lack of political will in our current leadership to handle with miscreants with iron hand and lack of strategic vision are certainly the point of concern for all of the Pakistanis and this situation needs to be corrected sooner than later but is it a reason enough to dismantle our success in areas like nuclear weapons program? Answer is clearly No, as such effort are likely to strengthen the anti Pakistan elements rather then deterring them from conspiring against Pakistan.

Like any other weapon our Nuclear weapons were developed to stop a specific threat and even writer in this article had to admit that they have fulfilled their original task not once but many times in our short history. Asking to dismantle Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programs based on such logic would be more like asking Pakistan army to stop using Tanks because they can’t be used to fight submarines.

Pakistan certainly is lagging behind in area of civilian nuclear power mainly because of the priority was always given to the development of the nuclear weapons program by the government of Pakistan. Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission has already produced locally designed plutonium production reactors in Khushab.

K-I has been operational since in 1998 and K-II became operational earlier this year. Two additional reactors are also under construction at Khushab. Nuclear reactors at Khushab were designed by the Pakistani nuclear engineer Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood along with his team of engineers from PAEC. One must also remember that it was PAEC that was able to run the KANUPP -I after nuclear embargos were imposed on Pakistan in 1976.

Now if PAEC can produce plutonium production reactors and run the KANUPP –I, they can certainly produce nuclear reactors for the purpose of electricity generation. If not as advance as those of western power, PAEC can certainly produce large CANDU-type reactor (KANUPP-1) just like India for purpose of electricity generation. In 1990 France announced that it is willing to sell a nuclear power plant to Pakistan, ending a 14-year embargo but due to lack of funds Pakistan was unable to avail the opportunity.

Author have failed to mention that massive investment will be required to develop the Thar Coal project for which our current government seems to be unwilling. While it is true that Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty stops its members from supplying nuclear reactors to non NPT states certain exceptions exists. India recently was able to avail such exemption with help of USA. Even if Pakistan currently don’t get enough support for such an exemption one can’t say the same for future especially with China’s growing influence.

A report by the California Energy Commission about the price per MWh of electricity generation by different technologies is available here (Please note that Pakistan currently don’t have Advance nuclear reactor so the cost in Pakistan’s case will be high but it will still be comparatively lower than the energy sources like Oil and Natural Gas from which Pakistan produces more than 63% of its total electricity)

Writer clearly lacks the understanding of the defense affairs and is trying to twist the facts to make a case of freezing the nuclear program in first stage and dismantle it in next stage. His assertions are based on the information that is at best being presented out of context. His logic that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program has failed to defend against few miscreants raises a question if he thinks that such weapons can be used in Pakistan? I would also like to raise the question that if we use the writer’s logic should we say that nuclear deterrent of USA, UK and Russia have failed because there were terrorist attacks in those countries?

No matter what all weapons are limited by their design, they can’t be used against all types of threats and therefore we need different weapons to deal with different threats. Same is the case with Nuclear weapons, Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program have proved itself to be effective deterrent in last two and half decades by deterring India from launching an attack against Pakistan. They have deterred wars that could have destroyed our already fragile economy.

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