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Archive for September, 2016

India must remember that Balochistan is not Bangladesh by Professor Ashok Swain


India must remember that Balochistan is not Bangladesh

Professor Ashok Swain

Professor of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University, Sweden.

Following Prime Minister Modi’s comments about Balochistan in his independence day speech, Ashok Swain warns that open support for Baloch separatists will not solve the Kashmir conflict. What is more, he writes that by threatening its neighbour’s territorial integrity India risks alienating key allies, and in the worst case scenario intervention could result in a nuclear conflict which would threaten the lives and livelihoods of millions.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day Speech on 15 August 2016 raised the issue of Pakistan’s human rights violations in Balochistan. This has brought a new excitement in New Delhi, particularly among the right wing commentators as if India has finally found a solution to the Kashmir issue.

Since the death of a charismatic militant Burhan Waniin the hands of the security agencies on 8 July 2016, Kashmir is witnessing unprecedented violent protest. Modi and his advisors hope that Kashmir unrest will come to an end if India starts spreading the fire in Balochistan. If Modi and his advisors really believe that the Balochistan threat will dissuade Pakistani agencies to stay out of Kashmir and the contested state will be peaceful forever, they are living in a cloud-cuckoo land. History shows that Pakistani military establishment does not succumb to Indian threats. Instead, it uses this threat to accumulate more power for itself. India’s direct support to the East Pakistan liberation movement, which resulted in the creation of Bangladesh, did not succeed in changing the perception of Pakistani agencies. It only exacerbated their paranoia towards India further.

In the last decade, while Western attention has been mostly on the Taliban, the separatist struggle is turning quite violent in this scarcely populated but mineral-rich province in the south west of Pakistan. The Baloch have waged two major violent ‘freedom’ struggles against the state: an uprising from 1973 to 1977, which was crushed by the Pakistani Army using brute force. The second ongoing struggle started in 2005.

It is no secret that India has been supporting the separatists in Balochistan in their fight again Pakistani military without openly admitting it. Baloch activists have repeatedly admitted of receiving India’s ‘moral’ support and a representative of Balochistan Liberation Organization (BLO) has been living in New Delhi since 2009. Pakistan has been regularly accusing India for using its consulates in Jalalabad and Kandahar to fund, train and arm Baloch militants. A decade back, senior officials of Pakistan had even alleged that 600 Baloch tribals were being trained by India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in Afghanistan to handle explosives, engineer bomb blasts, and use sophisticated weapons.

Pakistan has failed to provide much proof about Indian involvement, however, according to 2010 WikiLeaks cables, US and British intelligencecautiously agrees with the Pakistani accusations. Last year, Pakistan had handed over a dossier to the UN Secretary General containing ‘evidence’ of Indian support to violence in Balochistan. In March this year, Pakistan claimed to arrest an alleged RAW operative from Balochistan. India has been always denied these accusations, but has continued to remain engaged unofficially. However, by openly committing India to Balochistan’s cause in his speech, Modi is likely to expose India’s geo-strategic limitations without gaining any additional advantage, and there is a lot to lose.

It is important to keep in mind that the Balochistan issue is not a straightforward one for India to directly engage in, as was the case with East Pakistan. India does not share a common border with Balochistan and is therefore dependent upon Afghanistan to provide more support to Baloch separatists. This is not as easy as some hawks in India tend to believe, especially as India is struggling to get enough security cover even to protect its own assets in a fast-deteriorating environment in Afghanistan.

India’s expanded engagement in Balochistan might also bring Iran on Pakistan’s side because Baloch nationalists have not only pitched themselves against Pakistan but against Iran as well. Balochs form a majority in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan provinces and, like the Kurds, they are Sunni Muslims. It is not hard to imagine an Iran-Pakistan axis developing rapidly to prevent Baloch aspirations for independence. So getting bogged down in Balochistan risks turning Iran to an enemy of India.

When India went to war with Pakistan over Bangladesh in 1971 it had the blanket support of the Soviet Union, one of the two superpowers in the Cold War. If India picks a fight over Balochistan, Pakistanwill receive support from China whose $46 billion USD CPEC investment in the region is at stake, and it is unlikely that any global or regional power will come out openly on India’s side. Both its old friend Russia, and new ally the USA have tried their best to stay out of the Balochistan imbroglio to date. There is no reason to expect that they will change their stance now.

Not only is Balochistan not East Pakistan, the Pakistani Military has moved on since the early 1970s. In 1971 their most prized possessions were the Patton tanks, but today it is their tactical nuclear weapons. After the country split, Pakistan did not just sulk and accept Indian domination, it decided to acquire a large nuclear arsenal by hook or crook. Unlike India, Pakistan has always been very clear about its purpose in acquiring nuclear weapons: to defend itself against Indian aggression. And unlike India, Pakistan also refuses to commit to a ‘no first use’ of their weapons.

Based on the amount of fissile material Pakistan has produced, it is estimated to have 110-130 nuclear warheads compared to India’s 100-120. Both now possess ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and sea-based nuclear delivery systems. Most importantly, Pakistan’s recent deployment of tactical nuclear weapons for its artillery arsenal has taken away any advantage India had previously in the case of a conventional war. This seriously limits India’s manoeuvrability to intervene militarily in Pakistani territory, whether to retaliate against any terror group or support any ‘separatist struggle’.

Provoking Pakistan to an armed conflict now is like playing with fire. If India threatens the territorial integrity of Pakistan as it did in 1971 there is a real possibility of that the Pakistani military will retaliate with its prized weapons. It has the capacity to launch a nuclear strike against India within 8 seconds and could strike Delhi in five minutes.

Even the Indian policy of massive retaliation against the first use would not reduce the ability Pakistani nuclear missiles have to reach several Indian cities in minutes. Even a limited nuclear confrontation could therefore potentially kill millions in India. So unless Narendra Modi is prepared to sacrifice half of his country’s population to win against his nuclear-armed adversary, he should tread carefully. Pakistan understands well that India cannot openly engage in Balochistan conflict as it did in the case of Bangladesh. It is too much of a risk for India to gamble on. A self-assured Pakistan has already called Modi’s bluff, and is even using Modi’s speech to blame India for the domestic insurgency that it has created in Kashmir.

So contrary to the claim of certain Indian commentators, Modi’s bravado from the Red Fort on Balochistan will not deter Pakistani meddling in Kashmir now or in the future. Instead, it threatens to embolden Pakistan further in its desire to maintain its campaign and retaliate in India’s other soft spots like Punjab and Assam.

This article gives the views of the author, and not the position of the South Asia @ LSE blog,

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Amrikion ko Akbar bugti yad hen by Haroon ur Rasheed


Amrikion ko Akbar bugti yad hen by Haroon ur Rasheed


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Unsung Father of Pakistan’s Nuclear Bomb


Dr.Pervez Hoodbhoy












Photo illustration by Minhaj Ahmed Rafi

Photo illustration by Minhaj Ahmed Rafi



When Riazuddin—that was his full name—died in September


At age 82 in Islamabad, international science organizations extolled his contributions to high-energy physics. But in Pakistan, except for a few newspaper lines and a small reference held a month later at Quaid-e-Azam University, where he had taught for decades, his passing was little noticed. In fact, very few Pakistanis have heard of the self-effacing and modest scientist who drove the early design and development of Pakistan’s nuclear program.

Riazuddin never laid any claim to fathering the bomb—a job that requires the efforts of many—and after setting the nuclear ball rolling, he stepped aside. But without his theoretical work, Pakistan’s much celebrated bomb makers, who knew little of the sophisticated physics critically needed to understand a fission explosion, would have been shooting in the dark.

A bomb maker and peacenik, conformist and rebel, quiet but firm, religious yet liberal, Riazuddin was one of a kind. Mentored by Dr. Abdus Salam, his seminal role in designing the bomb is known to none except a select few.

Spurred By Salam

Born in 1930, Riazuddin and his twin brother, Fayyazuddin, were often mistaken for each other. Like other lower middle class Muslim children living in religiously divided Ludhiana, they attended the Islamia High School run by the Anjuman-i-Islamia philanthropy. The school had no notable alumni, and was similar to the town’s single public and two Hindu-run schools. Nothing suggested that these two boys squatting on floor mats, laboriously writing Urdu alphabets on wooden tablets, were to become anything special.

In March 1947, as the creation of Pakistan from India drew close, communal riots engulfed the Punjab. Neighbor turned against neighbor; the soil was drenched with blood as entire populations migrated from one side to the other. Riazuddin’s family entered Pakistan from the Wagah border in early October. The brothers enrolled at Lahore’s MAO College but soon moved to Government College, where they performed well but not spectacularly so. A teacher suggested that Riazuddin study physics rather than engineering. Riazuddin agreed, and Fayyazuddin followed.

This rather uninteresting situation changed dramatically in 1951 when Salam came to town. Then 25, Salam was a rising star in the world of high-brow physics having just solved an important problem in quantum field theory, a newly emerging subject that was beyond the comprehension of all but the top-ranking physicists of the time. For his research on “overlapping divergences,” Salam was awarded the Adams Prize and offered a professorship at Cambridge University. He declined the offer and signed up instead as a professor of mathematics at Government College.

In Lahore, one of Salam’s first initiatives was to introduce a course in quantum mechanics at Punjab University. Drawn by his reputation, students flocked to it; but only Riazuddin and Fayyazuddin could survive the tough mathematics involved. A disheartened Salam never taught the course again. But he had already identified the twins to be the best and brightest of those he encountered. Riazuddin was later invited to become his Ph.D. student at Cambridge. Helped by Salam, Fayyazuddin went to Imperial College London a couple of years later.

The rest is history. As a student at MIT in the 1970s, I would sometimes be asked by my professors if I knew Riazuddin, to which I replied yes with some pride. His Ph.D. thesis in 1958 on certain regularities underlying nuclear forces had been noticed as a piece of important work, but his subsequent works elevated him to the ranks of the world’s better known physicists. His 1968 book, Theory of Weak Interactions in Particle Physics, coauthored with C. P. Ryan and Robert E. Marshak, became a bible for physicists.

Another exceptionally important piece of work by Riazuddin was done together with Fayyazuddin, who became a prominent physicist in his own right. This work became widely known in physics literature as the Kawarabayashi-Suzuki-Riazuddin-Fayyazuddin Relation. The Pakistani and Japanese authors had done their respective work separately. Kawarabayashi and Suzuki acknowledged that they only became aware of Riazuddin and Fayyazuddin’s work after they had completed their own. The Relation has stood the test of experiment, but even today continues to tantalize physicists—because it works so much better than it really should.

Atomic Enterprise

The story of Pakistan’s bomb, at the least its early beginnings, is well known by now. In the aftermath of Pakistan’s humiliating defeat in December 1971, President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto convened a meeting in Multan on Jan. 20, 1972, to which the country’s preeminent scientists were invited. Bhutto exhorted them to make an atomic bomb, a desire he had first articulated in 1965. Now, it would be a means of avenging national humiliation. I. H. Usmani, then chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, opined that making the bomb was beyond Pakistan’s reach. Bhutto did not want to hear that. Usmani was unceremoniously replaced by Munir Ahmad Khan, an ambitious young engineer with more diplomatic and personal skills than engineering or scientific expertise.

Usmani’s apprehension was reasonable. In 1972, the atomic bomb appeared well out of Pakistan’s reach. Creating the weapons that laid Hiroshima and Nagasaki to waste had required enormous effort and resources. The Manhattan Project, with its secret beginning in 1939, eventually employed nearly 130,000 people and cost about $26 billion. Some of the finest minds in physics gave their undivided attention to splitting the atom and, in the process, generated new technologies and scientific ideas. Even if Pakistan could somehow marshal the physical resources, how on earth could it get the required intellectual resources?

Time was on Pakistan’s side. Every passing year was putting the bomb within the grasp of more and more nations. Once concealed under multiple layers of secrecy, the science behind the bomb slowly started to make its way out into the open in scientific literature. By the 1970s an enormous amount of such information was accessible; and physicists with sufficient breadth of understanding could do the jobWhen Pakistan exploded its bomb in 1998, Riazuddin was pleased but not joyous. Riazuddin, who was then Pakistan’s leading physicist, was abroad pursuing a scientific collaboration at the time of the Multan meeting. But his twin, Fayyazuddin, was present on the occasion. He shared with me his recollections of Multan: Bhutto’s call to action was not as emotive as were his public speeches. But, he recalled with some amusement, how the assembled scientists sought to outbid each other as though at an auction. Tumbling over one another, each rose to declare that he could make the bomb even faster than the last speaker. At that time none had any idea of what this work entailed. A professor of experimental physics at Government College, Rafi Chaudhry, emphatically claimed that only experimental physicists could make the bomb. To this, Salam—who was there at Bhutto’s special invitation—responded by saying that the nuclear programs of the U.S., Britain, India, and other countries had all been headed by theoretical physicists.

Soon thereafter, perhaps around September 1972, Salam summoned Riazuddin to his office at the International Center for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy. He had decided that Riazuddin was to design the bomb and, immediately upon his return to Islamabad, must create a group of theoretical physicists who would explore various technical aspects: the conceptual design for a nuclear device, calculation of the critical size of the fissile core, working out of a triggering mechanism, and finding the explosive yield for a variety of theoretical designs. Salam had already discussed the matter with Munir Ahmad Khan, with whom he had a warm relationship. Riazuddin should be given this task, Salam said. Khan agreed; and Riazuddin dutifully complied.

Riazuddin set about his assigned task by scouring available literature. He first went through the declassified Manhattan Project report. His scientific visits to the U.S. became more frequent. In 1973, he patiently studied documents at the Library of Congress, and purchased photocopies of a substantial number of unclassified or declassified reports from the Technical Information Service in Virginia. Of particular value was a series of lectures, declassified in 1965, delivered by nuclear physicist Robert Serber. The primer, addressed to members of the Los Alamos Laboratory, proved immensely valuable. While it did not contain detailed, classified information, it laid out all the conceptual issues and turned out to be an excellent starting point for Pakistan’s novice bomb designers. The total cost was only a few hundred dollars.

Armed with his recent findings, Riazuddin returned to brainstorm in 1973 with his colleagues at Islamabad University (later renamed Quaid-e-Azam University). By this time I was a junior faculty member there. The rest of us were dimly aware that something big was going on. We knew that the university was being used as a front organization for buying banned equipment. But it took decades for the whole truth to emerge.

From Riazuddin’s group, even those physicists who were in the know slowly dropped out. Fayyazuddin was not interested but Masud Ahmad, who had just obtained his Ph.D. in physics under the twins, became the second member of Riazuddin’s team. He went on to head a much bigger group eventually and was decorated with the Hilal-e-Imtiaz after the 1998 nuclear tests. The third member was Tufail Naseem, who assisted in programming the huge IBM360 located in the mathematics building.

The calculations Riazuddin carried out were tedious and complex. The plutonium route had been closed for now and Munir Ahmad Khan had tasked him with the following problem: his bomb must use the absolute minimum amount of highly-enriched uranium, and certainly no more than 20 kilograms. As a particle physicist he had a reasonable understanding of nuclear physics, but knew no hydrodynamics or how matter behaved under extreme compression. This knowledge is crucial for designing an implosion bomb because the high explosive surrounding the bomb’s core creates a shockwave that makes jelly out of even the toughest metal. These unfamiliar things had to be learned from books and papers. Like any good theoretical physicist, Riazuddin refused to accept what the computer churned out until he could verify it by using some clever analytical techniques.

Kicking the Closet

Pakistan’s successful nuclear tests of May 1998 were the joint result of many who worked on its myriad aspects—mining, conversion of uranium to uranium hexafluoride gas, enrichment, metallization, explosives, device fabrication, testing equipment, etc. But everything really starts with the design, the very first step of any complex project.

Arguably, the Chinese bomb design that Pakistan received sometime in the 1980s—and which the Americans say had been passed on by Dr. A. Q. Khan to the Libyans and Iranians—made the work easier. I do not think the Americans are lying when they say they confiscated the detailed bomb drawings in 2004 together with other nuclear materials from the ship BBC Cargo. In fact, around 1994 or 1995, Munir Ahmad Khan whispered to me confidentially, while we sipped tea in his drawing room, that the Americans had angrily told him that Pakistan possessed detailed Chinese blueprints and drawings. But even these drawings would have been nearly useless without a sound understanding of the underlying theory. The Libyans, given the same drawings, could do nothing with them. Moreover, tuning weapons for different yields or exploring different warhead options without sound theoretical physics would have been impossible.

Pakistan erupted in mass jubilation on May 28, 1998—the day the bomb came out of the nuclear closet. Pakistani videos and TV programs of the time show Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif congratulating cheering citizens. The euphoric press compared this historic moment with the birth of Pakistan in 1947. Pakistan’s bomb makers became national heroes. School children were handed free badges with mushroom clouds, poetry competitions around the bomb were organized, and bomb and missile replicas were planted in cities up and down the land (most of these replicas were removed during the Musharraf years). The bomb had attained mythical status; it became an article of faith for the guarantee of national security into perpetuity.

Riazuddin was pleased but not joyous. He accepted quiet congratulations from his former colleagues, with whom he had ceased to have a working relationship many years ago, and he also accepted a high government award, the Hilal-e-Imtiaz. For Riazuddin, the bomb was a necessary evil, and a cause for worry. Pakistan and India were heading toward a debilitating and dangerous arms race. What could be done about it?

Some weeks after the 1998 tests, Riazuddin wrote to Sharif pleading that Pakistan should now sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty. The first would prohibit more test explosions, which in any case were not essential, while the second would limit the size of the nuclear arsenal and prevent a sharp upward spiral in warhead numbers, costs, and dangers. As quid pro quo, he said, Pakistan should insist on nuclear-power technology transfer from the West. He received no reply. Quite possibly Sharif did not know how much the bomb owed to Riazuddin.

Nuclear Burden

Riazuddin and Dr. Abdus Salam. Courtesy of FayyazuddinRiazuddin and Dr. Abdus Salam. Courtesy of Fayyazuddin

Many Pakistanis think that Salam was opposed to making the bomb. Some say he played no role in it. This is wrong—he did want Pakistan to have the bomb, but felt that he had more important things to do than work out its minute details. The job of theoretical physicists like Salam is to uncover nature’s secrets at the very deepest level; they think that applications of such discoveries, if any, matter less. Even if they had not developed the world’s first atomic bomb, Robert Oppenheimer, Edward Teller, Hans Bethe, and Enrico Fermi would still have been enshrined in the history of physics for discovering fundamental principles.

Information from multiple sources suggests to me that Salam did not do any bomb calculations himself. As a frontrunner in the world of physics, he was after bigger fish, not merely retracing the footsteps of his illustrious predecessors. And so he tasked his student, Riazuddin, with setting up a group of theoretical physicists. Although he lost power and influence in Pakistan after 1974, Salam continued to favor the bomb and to strongly push for its development. Those involved in bomb-design calculations were frequently invited to Trieste to use its ample library facilities. Earlier, Salam had advised the PAEC to purchase a plutonium reprocessing plant from France. That deal fell through after the Indian tests of 1974 and the growing suspicion that Pakistan would travel India’s route.

Riazuddin recalls that around December 1973 he had accompanied Salam and Munir Ahmad Khan to the Wah Explosive Factory and met its head, Lt. Gen. Qamar Ali Mirza. He saw TNT for the first time, and recognized from the Manhattan Project report that an explosive called Composition B was used. The Directorate of Technical Development group, created by Munir Ahmad Khan, and later headed by Riazuddin, carried out experimental work on the high explosives needed for triggering implosion, explosive lenses, fast detonators, as well as on the necessary neutronics and electronics.

Riazuddin was gentle and unassuming, the sort who couldn’t hurt a fly. So what made him go for designing nuclear weapons, each of which could easily snuff out a hundred thousand lives? Was he like Oppenheimer, who had felt uncomfortable after Hiroshima and subsequently refused to work on the bomb?

I do not think so. Apart from the Hilal-e-Imtiaz, Riazuddin accepted various government awards given to him by the government for his “services to the nation,” a euphemism for his bomb work. His unpublished notes, which I have seen, also do not reveal regret; in fact, these exhibit some measure of satisfaction over having done the job right. His mentor and ideal, Salam, was a very different personality. Unlike Riazuddin, he was articulate, assertive, and fully capable of defending his turf. Two very different people agreed that the bomb must be built. Why?

One can only guess at the motivations: it is generally true that scientists who participate in defense-related work achieve positions of much greater importance and wield much clout. (Certainly, Oppenheimer and Teller were the most sought after scientists in their days. Salam also admired Homi Jehangir Bhabha, a fine physicist and fierce nationalist who was the force behind India’s nuclear program.) In those days one could be an Ahmadi and a Pakistani nationalist, and Salam was both. He bought into the idea of rapidly modernizing the nation under Gen. Ayub Khan, becoming the government’s science adviser. 

Riazuddin was accused of being an Ahmadi. Why else was he so close to Salam?

It is interesting to compare the attitudes of Pakistan’s various bomb makers. Dr. A. Q. Khan and Dr. Samar Mubarakmand, Pakistan’s much celebrated scientists, frequently articulate in public their strong, visceral anti-Hindu feelings. This can perhaps be understood from the gut-wrenching partition of India, when Hindus and Sikhs and Muslims mass-slaughtered each other. On the other hand, Salam and Riazuddin never exhibited such hatreds—even though Jhang, Salam’s birthplace, and Ludhiana, Riazuddin and Fayyazuddin’s birthplace, had seen some of the worst atrocities. Was their attitude different from that of other nuclear scientists because of their exposure to the wider world of science?

Salam coauthored works with several scientists who were Hindu. While in Italy, one of his most productive scientific collaborations was with Jogesh C. Pati of the University of Maryland, resulting in the famous Pati-Salam Model for proton decay. When Salam received the Nobel Prize for physics in 1979, India immediately conferred on him a national award. (I suspect few of Salam’s Indian colleagues knew of his nuclear past.) Pakistan’s then-president Gen. Zia-ul-Haq would grudgingly honor him a year later.

That Salam eventually distanced himself from Pakistan’s nuclear program is no mystery. He had no option. Parliament’s 1974 decision to declare Ahmadis heretics was a sharp turning point for him and his community. Every religious minority in Pakistan is hounded and harassed, but none is more relentlessly persecuted than the Ahmadis. In retrospect, they had erred fatally by raising the demand for Pakistan.

The older Salam was a different Salam. Although I had met him a few times beginning in 1971, it wasn’t until 1984 that we actually engaged. On the one hand, he had grown more attached to his faith, a fact that led to some tension in our conversations during my visits to Trieste; on the other, he became more inclined toward advocating world peace, disarmament, and turning “swords into ploughshares.” By the late 1980s, I think he would have preferred to forget his initial contributions to the bomb.

Riazuddin was not an Ahmadi, but was accused of being one—a well-tested and easy way for jealous detractors to defame and endanger a rival. Why else, they argued, was he so close to Salam? Riazuddin shrugged off the allegation. But his world, like Salam’s, had also opened wide through international travels. Riazuddin’s scientific collaborators were many—American, British, Italian, and Indian. This stands in sharp contrast with A. Q. Khan and Mubarakmand, neither of whom had Indian collaborators. Their work, although also essential for bomb making, was entirely concentrated on the engineering and managerial aspects.

Quiet Rebel

By nature a conformist rather than a dissident, Riazuddin was a religious man who said his prayers five times a day. His instincts were to agree and obey rather than argue. But he was also a technology enthusiast. His expectation, which seemed a tad unrealistic to me, was that the advanced technology demanded by the bomb would automatically usher in a new technological age for Pakistan and strongly boost local research and development. To his chagrin, nothing of the sort happened. Instead, even components that could be made locally were imported and reverse engineering was rewarded. Worse, undocumented financial transactions led to massive corruption within the nuclear establishment. His bomb-related budget in the 1970s had been just a few thousand dollars, of which he had to give complete accounts to the PAEC. But later, undocumented millions would be spent without a trace.

Clashes with the establishment became frequent after Riazuddin became director of the National Center for Physics at Quaid-e-Azam University. He sought to make the center a nucleus for Pakistani and international scientists. It would, he hoped, provide intellectual leadership, have an open atmosphere, and would be closely modeled along the lines of Salam’s center in Trieste. But, with real controls resting elsewhere, the center eventually became a mere appendage of the national-security establishment, staffed by retired colonels and brigadiers, and forced to bow to their pressures. Not unexpectedly, its role in nurturing physics has been minimal.

Crisis followed crisis. One of particular seriousness involved me as well. In 2006, for unclear reasons, Riazuddin’s bosses took fancy to a particular kind of machine known as a Van de Graaf accelerator or Pelletron. This had been used in the early days of nuclear research and, although it had doubtful research utility, came with a hefty price tag of over Rs. 400 million. They decided to extract this sum from the Higher Education Commission, which was then flush. Upon reading in the newspapers that this albatross was purchased in the name of my department, I immediately protested with HEC’s top management, who defended the plan and told me that Riazuddin had signed off on the proposal. Horrified, I called Riazuddin. He admitted that he had succumbed to pressure “from above.”

But to his credit Riazuddin decided then to stand up and fight to prevent the import of a useless piece of costly junk. The peeved czars of the nuclear establishment brought in their troops—nearly 150 technical personnel from the PAEC, Kahuta Research Laboratory, and the National Engineering and Scientific Commission filled the auditorium of the physics department of Quaid-e-Azam University in 2007. None among them knew anything about the scientific purposes of the Pelletron, nor cared. They came solely with instructions to abuse and insult Riazuddin and myself, often using crude language. The short of it: the Pelletron was imported and installed. It stands at the center as a monument to shortsightedness and willful wastage, with no significant scientific output. A second one, installed at Government College, Lahore, saw a similar fate. Riazuddin paid the price for his dissidence: he lost his job.

A quintessential scientist who patiently worked on his calculations until almost the very end, Riazuddin published his last physics research paper in 2013—a remarkable feat for an 82-year-old. For one who had helped set Pakistan on its nuclear path, the farewell Riazuddin got from a bomb-loving nation was surprisingly low key. The country’s powerful nuclear and security establishment was clearly not willing to celebrate a man who had rebelled against it.

Pakistan Think Tank Article Selection Editor:Khaled Nizami

Note: This article was written in 2013 by Dr. Hoodbhoy is the Zohra and Z. Z. Ahmed distinguished professor of physics and mathematics at Forman Christian College University, Lahore. From Dec. 7, 2013, issue.

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Ex-RAW Chief’s Pragmatic Approach on Kashmir By Sajjad Shaukat

imgresEx-RAW Chief’s Pragmatic Approach on Kashmir


Sajjad Shaukat


In wake of continued siege and prolonged curfew, Indian security forces have martyred more than 100 innocent persons who have been protesting since July 8, 2016 against the martyrdom of the young Kashmir leader Burhan Wani by the Indian security forces in the Indian-occupied Kashmir.


Without caring for severe criticism all over the world, during his address on the Independence Day of India on August 15, 2016, Indian extremist Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is also leader of the ruling fundamentalist party BJP went aggressively further in a diatribe against Pakistan by claiming that people of Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir are thankful to home for raising voice for their suppressed rights.


On the other side, against his false anti-Pakistan statement, huge rallies and demonstrations were held in Balochistan, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, including some other cities of Pakistan. Opposing Indian intervention in Balochistan and other parts of Pakistan, the speakers on this occasion strongly condemned Prime Minister Modi’s aggressive designs against Pakistan and Kashmiris. They urged international community, civilized world and human rights organizations to take serious notice of the Indian state terrorism—genocide of Kashmiris in the Indian-held Kashmir and interference in Pakistan’s province of Balochistan.


In this context, Pakistan Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said that the situation in Balochistan cannot be equated with Kashmir and Indian Prime Minister was only trying to divert world attention from the “grim tragedy” unfolding in Kashmir over the past five weeks.


One can clearly not that Indian-controlled Kashmir (IOK) is burning since July 8, 2016. The lava of resentment from the bursting volcano of IOK is now spreading from the urban centers to rural areas. Indian rulers have been trying to brush aside the issue by keeping it under the carpet, accusing that Pakistan is fuelling the flames.


At this critical juncture, the interview of A. S. Dulat, former chief of India’s spy agency RAW published in the magazine, ‘The Wire’ of August 27, 2016 sheds some light on finding a settlement of the Kashmir dispute. A.S. Dulat is relevant to the issue and helps in understanding the crisis in Kashmir and seeking possible solutions. Dulat who also was director of the Intelligence Bureau, has served in Kashmir for a long time. His most important tenure was between 2001 and 2004, when he was the advisor on Jammu and Kashmir in Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s office. In 2015, his book Kashmir, The Vajpayee Years, co-authored with senior journalist Aditya Sinha, created uproar since he became one of the few members of the Indian security and intelligence community to advocate a reduced military presence in Kashmir and to argue the need for India to build confidence amongst Kashmiris through humanitarian measures.


Dulat, while emphasizing that Pakistan’s role is not the only catalyst for the crisis, talks about the need for the Indian government to start talking to separatist leaders in the Hurriyat Conference, Pakistan, and other important political players. He indicates as to how Vajpayee’s and Narendra Modi’s strategies on Kashmir are poles apart and elaborates on why Kashmiris warmed to Vajpayee. He stresses that India should engage in principled dialogue with people in the Valley, instead of taking a naïve and aggressive line. His condemnation of the Modi government for not talking to Hurriyat and for its high handedness in IOK is spot on. He rightly concludes that the Kashmiri uprising is 100% indigenous and Pakistan was taking advantage of the situation in IOK.


However, realistic analysis of A.S. Dulat shows his pragmatic approach regarding the Indian-occupied Kashmir, as he points out that the problem has been there for a while. Under the surface, there has been a lot of anger, hatred and alienation. Never before has it seemed so much in the open. In this context, He said, “Now, you have slogans put up: ‘Indian Dogs Go Back!’ It’s bad and the common Kashmiri is suffering.” He attributes all this, unfortunately, to the BJP-PDP alliance in the Indian-controlled Kashmir. In the 2014 elections, the result was such that this was the only alliance which could work. It was a natural alliance and [PDP leader] Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, therefore, opted for it although he stated that it was an alliance between the North Pole and the South Pole. Everyone hoped that it would bring Jammu and Kashmir together.


In fact, it has torn Jammu and Kashmir apart, because the Kashmiris have been very apprehensive that the BJP and the RSS are gradually penetrating into the Valley. They are very sensitive to that because with that comes fears of the repeal of Article 370, that there may be a change in the demographic pattern of Kashmir and so on. So as long as Mufti Sayeed was there, he muddled through. He was an unhappy man because Delhi did not understand what was happening. So he died an unhappy man.


As war of liberation in the Indian-held Kashmir has accelerated, Indian Prime Minster Modi has no option, but resuming the dialogue process with Pakistan, starting where Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh left it. Modi’s diversionary tactics, drawing the attention off IOK and talking about Balochistan would not help as the problem lies in Kashmir and New Delhi will have to talk to Islamabad.


In this regard, another news item reported in various news papers is the speech given by Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati in Azam Garh, Utter Pradesh. In her speech she has said that BJP may start a war with Pakistan and engineer Hindu-Muslim riots prior to the upcoming polls in utter Pradesh. She has predicted that BJP will use these tactics to divert attention from its failing government policies. Mayawati’s predictions merit attention because BJP is an irrational party, which comprises extremists, who can go to any extent to achieve their gains. Modi, who ignited Gujarat and is responsible for the slaughter of 2000 innocent Muslims in 2002, only because he was seeking re-elections in the province, can well take India to war so that the elections in UP may be won.


Nevertheless, Indian rulers must take cognizance of the interview of the ex-chief of RAW A. S. Dulat in order to seek a peaceful solution of the Kashmir dispute, as he has shown a pragmatic approach on Kashmir.



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Unity won us the 65 War with India by R Umaima Ahmed, Staff Writer, The Nation, Pakistan


A Pakistani soldier captured these five Indian soldiers single-handedly at Wagah.


Unity Won us the 1965 War with India

R Umaima Ahmed


Within a short period of 18 years of its existence Pakistan came to fight a full fledged war with India. Prior to this there had been various skirmishes between the two countries.The Indian Commander in Chief had boasted that he will have his drinks in lawns of the Lahore Gymkhana at 10 am on 6th September but he had did not have luck on his side and the Indian soldiers fearing of being encircled and trapped got on their nerves and they retreated.On 6th September 1965 afternoon Pakistan’s President Field Marshal Ayub Khan spoke to the nation on Pakistan Radio and said, “Mere Aziz Humwatno, Dushman nai janta usne kis kaum ko lalkara hia (The enemy does not know whom it has challenged as a nation).” While speaking to people who had heard that speech say it was obvious that no one was afraid that the war had started. Instead everyone was jubilant and wanted to take part in it as much as they could. The army conveys on the move were stopped by people who brought food for them, ladies gave them their gold ornaments. The next day people witnessed the famous aerial dog fight over Lahore which was not only praised by the public but people abroad too. The Nation interviewed three retired army men who took part in the war Brig Rauf Ahmed Khan, Lt Col Syed Mukhtar Hussain, another officer who wanted to remain anonymous and an Admiral Tasneem Ahmed of the Pakistan Navy. Following are excerpts of the interview: Vice Admiral Ahmed Tasneem was commissioned in Royal Australian Navy 1.1.57 after initial training in UK. “Then I was posted as ADC to FM Ayub khan. This is the time when Ayub Khan took the famous visit to the US and persuaded Kennedy to give submarine to Pakistan Navy. I asked him to relieve me so I could join the submarine force. He agreed and I was part of the crew that went to US for training and brought back PNS Ghazi for induction in the PN through Suez Canal. Later Ghazi joined the fleet in 1965 and played a decisive role with me as 2nd in command. “We patrolled around Bombay to test Indian defenses for 30 days then came back, we sailed again on 1st and the war started on the 6th. It was obvious since the incidents in May and June at Raan of Kutch and Kashmir and some across border activity. Our main achievements were: 1. We had a submarine no other country had in the region which was a force multiplier and it weighed heavily in our favour. In fact the Indian Navy did not come out of harbor due to the Ghazi threat. 2. Navy was very well trained under the CINC Admiral AR Khan. The nation was united and spirit was high. Forces fight with nation’s support. Indians did not want to lose their ships to Ghazi. Even Vikrant the aircraft carrier did not come out. The operation was planned for 7th and 8th September night. Seven ships went to 5 miles off dwarka and each lunched 50 rounds, it had three effects1, blocked the IN port2, Radar knocked out which reduced the air effort3, PN morale raisedHe explained how the Navy reacted to President Ayub Khan’s speech. “Launching an attack is declaration of war. We were in enemy waters when we heard of the attack on Lahore, and heard the speech of Ayub Khan. The speech raised the morale of the sailors and they were charged with the spirit to defend the motherland. The nation’s unity was a factor, and coordination between the three forces was a decisive factor.“Ghazi’s antenna seal leaked so we had to return for mainland on 12th or 13th September. So to hide the fact that Ghazi was in dock for repairs, we were put in a floating dock and the water was not pumped out so we could be hidden. However we went in at high tide and when the tide turned the submarine tilted I had gone home to take a bath and I got a call and I ran back to port to save the sub. So that was an incident in which we almost lost the sub in dock rather than in battle.“In 1965 Pakistan was one dimensional force barring one submarine, today we are a four dimensional arm, sub, surface, air and marine arm. Money is always a concern, and today the navy is deployed in many areas, including anti-terrorism and anti-piracy duties on high seas, for the last two years. So we need to keep it afloat; ships are expensive but politics and such often plays a role in this. We need more fuel we have load shedding we need fuel for power generation, sea routes carry our exports, so if a port is blocked we run into myriad problems of movement.Brig Rauf Ahmed Khan joined the Pakistan Military Academy Kakul in May 1960 and after two and a half years of training he got commission in 9 FF in October 1962. The battalion was located in Malakand fort then, and later moved to Kharian where it was garrisoned when the war started. “On 6 September we got the orders to reach Pasrur, we left Kharian at 2:30pm. I was leading the convey from Kharian in my jeep, when reached near the Wazirabad bridge I saw there were some 15 to 20 people standing there, including women. I told them to clear the road as the war has started and the enemy may carry out an air attack. They were there with four big buckets of milk, which they had brought for us. We could not carry all of it, and it would have been very impolite if we refused them outrightly. So we all took a few sips of it, thanked them and left with their well wishes and prayers. This was the passion of the public and support for the army on that day.“When I was in the Battalion headquarter at about 3 pm we got a message that Lt Qudus Mirza the Artillery observer needed to be evacuated as he was injured in the firing. He was not only my batch mate but part of my platoon so I told my CO that I will take the task to evacuate him. I went with my driver in a jeep.“I learnt that Lt Qudus Mirza was attacking the enemy tanks with anti-tank recoilless rifle. His Hawaldar had destroyed three enemy tanks, but when the dust rose it was visible to the enemy where they were being attacked from. The enemy’s fourth tank fired at the position and the Anti-tank rifle crew embraced shahadat, and Lt Qudus was a injured when a shrapnel hit his leg. He was laid in a trench, but as he was in great pain when I reached, we made sure he should be taken out with care and put into the jeep. I briefed his hawaldar to take Lt Qudus to the nearest first aid camp as soon as possible. As soon as Lt Qudus Mirza left we heard an attack from Phillora side, we had expected that the jeep would have been attacked. But years later when I met Lt Qudus he said if I had not told them to speed away from that area he may not have lived.He speaks of the time that was just before 6 September. “There were skirmishes in the area of the Raan of Kuch starting in April-May. Operation Gibraltar got underway in August and Operation Grandslam in September. We definitely were witnessing things leading to war. The Army was mentally and physically prepared and it was beyond understanding how the Foreign Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had thought that in reply to these operations how the enemy would not cross the international borders. It was a faulty analysis by him. We have been very unfortunate because we had secured a large amount of area in Operation Grand Slam we had reached Jaurian and Indian army was on the run, but we paid a heavy price when General Akhtar Malik was removed and Gen Yahya was given the Command against all norms and protocol and against teachings of battle. Gen Yahya took 36 hrs to assess and re-plan the operation and that gave time to India to regain its position and hit back. This one decision was a great loss. However by that time the PAF had gained superiority and that helped is stopping the counter attack by the Indians.”Col Mukhtar was commissioned in July 53, posted to 9 FF in Kharian Cantt in the unit. He spoke about the start of war said; Army was already deployed in field location and expected an Indian attack sometime. “We were at Kharian, and moved to battle location on 6th September. When we moved out on 6 sept to Pasrur our battle location, middle of night 6/7 September we got information that there was threat of Indian para-drop at Eimenabad near Gujranwala to cut the Lahore-Pindi GT road, we moved at night and early morning of 7th four Indian aircraft flew over us to hit Sargodha, were shot down by MM Alam and they did not return. We then moved back to Chowinda sector. On the evening 10-11, around 8 pm we got orders to move to relieve 24 Brigade around Phillora cross, and the battalion occupied the area of the brigade, that is a company to occupy a battalion position each. They moved to Chowinda while we blocked Phillora. The morning saw Indian tank assault and one company was over run and an antitank crew hit tanks and slowed the assault, one company on area 40 r was untouched. We came under heavy artillery and tank attacks but we stood our ground and gave 24 Brigade the needed 24 hours to defend the area.“We started pulled out on orders from HQ on 11th and were told that Phillora cross was secure. However, when we got there it was under Indian occupation, and we were hit again. However, our troops shouted at the Indian soldiers repeating Ayub’s “tum nae kis qaum ko larkara hai.” We managed to fight and blunt the Indian assault, and captured an Indian officer also. I put him in a jeep and told Captain Mehdi to take him to the HQ but in the cross fire later the driver and Indian officer were killed. We extricated ourselves in small groups, I was the last man to come out of there and there was a Sherman tank there I went round it and I saw that a rocket launcher person Naik Dilbagh and said come lets fire at this tank, but he said his number two was not with him. The next day I reached the HQ, and was told by the adjutant that they had given us up as dead, and were about to send a missing believed killed report. The area was littered with disabled tanks, and 11 cavalry and 25 cavalry proved better than the Indian tanks.”Col Mukhtar spoke about the ceasefire. “Before cease fire a brigade of 1st armored division which was at Khem Kharan – Lahore had joined us. An counter attack was planned to encircle Indian troops, but Sahibzada Yaqub armor expert at Corps HQ said these troops are not corps or army but national reserve and postponed the counter attack as cease fire was also coming so it was postponed.”He gave his views on Tashkant saying, “As for tashkaent as far as we the troops and army knew it was the higher level government decision, but Gen Musa the chief had been fighting for increase of Infantry division in the army, Shoaib the finance minister refused to give the money. Six lancers had infiltrated India and were almost at Amritsar, but due to no infantry support had to pull back. It is said that Gen Musa then went and threw the file at Shoaib and told him that the infantry div would have meant that Amritsar would have been with Pakistan today, and we would also not have let India enter our territory even by a single yard. As far as Tashkenst, Bhutto was an evil genius with his own designs, and he never told the nation about what happened there. After the war I was then posted to the newly raised 21 FF in Sialkot and I wrote in the monthly report that Bhutto has resigned due to health reasons and we pray for his health. The acting CO called me and said why tell a lie, he has resigned to go against Ayub Khan. But I am glad to say 9 FF was able to give the much needed time of almost 36 hours to 24 brigade, which carried the day.”“Personally feel Pakistan has a great future especially with coming closer to china and started thinking independently and not following dictates of others. We have a wonderful future Pakistan will emerge as a strong nation in the region and easily dominate Indian strategy or game. Strength of conviction is that the nation is united today for this effort,” he said regarding the future of Pakistan. “Performance and achievements were such that people started believe that like angels can in Badar, same happened here, it was the performance that carried the day. As for suicide attacks on tanks I have not seen myself but there were sugarcane fields in the area and men could not be seen in it, and there were instances where a soldier went thru the crop and put an antitank mine in front of the tanks track, if anyone of those died I can’t say if that is where these stories got currency.”On how the war ended Col Mukhtar says, “11th September was Quaid’s death anniversary and also it was the day 9 FF stopped the Indian assault and saved the country. Devine help … nothing visual seen, but Allahs help was there, there was no way to get out without that, especially when coming out of Phillora the intensity of fire was too much to be saved from without Allahs help.Allah, Artillery, Air Force the three A’s“11 Cavalry command vehicle had fallen in enemies hands, and they were listening to all our wireless communications. Guides Cavalry sent to relieve 9 FF however they were too thin on ground and stretched so were asked to fall back leaving 9 FF alone to face the enemy. We extricated in small groups and that in itself was a help from Allah,” Col Mukhtar said. Another retired army officer shared his views on condition on anonymity. In September 1965 he was a captain and Pakistan had a situation going on in Kashmir, the Pakistan Army has been moved to the borders, and was undergoing fulltime training and preparing for a full-fledged war, which left us with no time to have any apprehensions regarding the war. “We were focusing on only one thing and that was on how to give the enemy a befitting reply,’ he said. When asked about the one thing that could be the trigging point of 1965 war he replied, “Operation Gibraltar triggered some activity in Kashmir, and India over reacted to it, which was not acceptable to us. The response to Kashmir should have been limited to Kashmir but their reaction got the situation out of control and headed to war. But there was a flaw at our end too;on our side we should have launched Operation Gibraltar with proper preparation which would have led to lesser problems. We then followed up with the operation with Grand Slam, which was an attack in the Chamb area to get to Akhnoor and cut the line of communications going to Kashmir. That operation ran into difficulties again when the chain of command was changed midway, and Indians attacked the International Borders. We had a close fight, in which artillery and Pakistan Air Force responded with full might and stopped them (Indian’s) at the border, where they even lost some territory.”Regarding Tashkant Declaration he said, “It was not so bad for Pakistan, we could have had a better deal, but Mr Bhutto did what was needed and it could not have been possible without the consent of the President (FM Ayub Khan).”On how to find a place in the international community again, he said “Pakistan needs to sort out its internal situation so that it can earn a standing in the International community. Our strategic locations potential can only be realized with, internal security, bilateral relations with all the neighbors, be part of the global financial groups’ like EU, SAARC, IMF etc., so that our trade ties expand and helps us to revive our position.”While the debate of who won and who lost the 1965 war between Pakistan and India, one thing stands out even today 50 years after the war ended, that the Pakistani nation stood united as one, behind the armed forces, and rather than going in trenches to save their lives they stood on the roof tops of their houses to applaud the Air Force against the enemy planes. People stopped the military convoys on the road and offered food and milk to the soldiers. And everyone was taken up by the spirit of 65.History teaches us many lessons, a smaller force took on a larger force and stood its ground against all odds, what united the nation was the “spirit” and unity in the faith which came to the fore in the discipline that the nation and the armed forces displayed in the hour of trial.We need the same spirit today so that we as a nation are able to get our place in the comity of nations and not be labeled as anything but a resiliently alive nation! g

Published in The Nation newspaper on 06-Sep-2015

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