Friday, Aug 12, 2022
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The Bomb

The Thousand-Year War With Ourselves

It took Kargil, and a thousand young lives, to rediscover an old truth: the Bomb is a blunt weapon

The Thousand-Year War With Ourselves
AP
The Thousand-Year War With Ourselves
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

The nuclear dream began with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Educated in America at the beginning of the Cold War, a student of politics, by the time he became foreign minister in the early 1960s he saw in the bomb a route to power as much for Pakistan as for himself. Nuclear nationalism found its first champion in Bhutto who declared Pakistan would fight India for a thousand years, and that Pakistan would get the bomb even if it meant having to eat grass. In other words, he thought glory was worth the price of self-destruction.

Bhutto found his moment in the aftermath of the slaughter in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) he did so much to bring about. As president of West Pakistan, among his first acts was to set his more than willing scientists to work on reinventing the bomb's nearly 30-year-old technology. Newspapers of the day carried the headline, "Pride, Honour at all Costs to be Redeemed". But the bomb couldn't save him from the consequences of his failure to govern. Overthrown by Gen Zia's 1977 coup, Bhutto died claiming the Americans brought him down because he had tried to give Pakistan the bomb. Ever since, some have seen an American hand behind every move towards freeing Pakistan from the clutches of the bomb.

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