Abdul Quadeer Khan
Pakistan is at present in a worse situation than it was in 1971, and it would begin to disintegrate again if the current social problems are not solved, Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Quadeer Khan said.
"The present situation in the country is not very different from that of 1971. Then, as now, the rulers and the establishment were under the illusion that they could and would crush their opponents," he said.
Khan made the remarks in an article titled "Events of 1971" published in The News International yesterday.
Mentioning the Liberation War in 1971, and the birth of Bangladesh in the aftermath, he said "The country [Pakistan] is at present plagued with all kinds of social evils.
"If we don't rectify this soon, the day will not be far off when we disintegrate again."
In order to rectify the situation, the noted scientist opined that the first and foremost necessity is to "disengage ourselves from the foreign war and put our own house in order".
In the article, Khan also said all nations go through ups and downs -- they have glorious periods and tragic ones. People usually ignore and forget the tragic ones while celebrating the good events with great pomp.
"It is most unfortunate that we in Pakistan have also not learnt any lessons from our past tragic mistakes. The breaking up of Pakistan on December 16, 1971, was one such recent event," he said.
Millions of Pakistanis are fully aware of the reasons behind that tragedy. But it seems that the (Pakistani) rulers and the establishment were oblivious to these, despite the fact that it was such a traumatic experience.
The country was broken up, hundreds of thousands of people were killed, women were raped and almost 92,000 army and other personnel were taken prisoner, he said, adding that nobody was held responsible for such a big and tragic disaster.
"We saw our own army killing our own people. It is a well-known fact that, when given absolute power, people become cruel. I was ashamed to see that such cruel acts could be perpetrated by Muslims against Muslims -- Pakistanis against fellow-Pakistanis," Khan said in the article.
Everybody was aware of the fact that West Pakistani baboos [gentlemen] considered East Pakistan a colony and treated its citizens in the same way as the British used to treat the West Pakistanis.
It was unfortunate that both the (Pakistani) political and military leaders are under the illusion (as happened in previous eras) that they can crush their opponents.
They could not manage to do that to a very docile nation in 1971, how then can they contemplate crushing a martial race? They will be fighting for a thousand years and bleed the country to destruction and disintegration, he said.
The rulers and the establishment are using poor, brave soldiers as cannon fodder for the sake of a paltry sum in dollars.
"We have forgotten how to protect our own borders and sovereignty," Khan added.