By Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan
We will celebrate on March 23 with great pomp and show and the defense forces will present a grand display of might. It was on that day in 1940 that our great leader, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and his patriotic, selfless colleagues vowed to obtain a separate homeland for the Muslims of the sub-continent.
Through their hard struggle and the exemplary sacrifices made by ordinary Muslims, they managed to create an independent country on August 14, 1947. In the process, hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives and property while they migrated to their new homeland.
Quaid-e-Azam and his colleagues dreamt of a Pakistan that was a social-welfare, Islamic state, free from hatred rooted in class, religion, race, etc. They were sincere in their efforts and purpose.
Unfortunately, reality did not turn out the way they had envisioned. Within five years the country endured political turmoil and by 1958 military dictatorship took over the reins of government. Gradually they sold us to the West, and their ideals – and later even our sovereignty – were sold. The dream of a social-welfare state had evaporated into thin air.
Slowly things went from bad to worse. Politicians and military dictators played havoc with the nation – natural resources were not properly utilized, our education system was totally destroyed and corruption started playing an ever increasing role.
We are blessed with many natural resources, intelligent people, sufficient manpower and hard-working farmers. We receive lots of rain but all this bounty is allowed to flow to the sea unused, often causing floods on the way. Despite being an agricultural country, we import billions of dollars’ worth of pulses and vegetables.
One of the main problems is that successive governments have all been run by bureaucrats, often incompetent civilians, rather than by competent technocrats. The term technocrat seems to have become a dirty word in the vocabulary of incompetent leaders.
Technocrats are not interested in running the country; they require funds and a free hand to put the country on the road to industrial development and progress. Our leaders, on the other hand, want only to see sycophants in higher positions to toe their line.
From being a rich, fertile agricultural country, we have now deteriorated to being a backward country carrying a begging bowl. Whenever we had competent leaders, we managed to progress. Thanks to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto, who gave me the necessary finances and facilities, one of the most backward countries in the area managed to do what everyone considered to be impossible. We became a nuclear power – the first Islamic state to do so and the seventh in the world – and are now a nuclear and missile power. Though we are a peaceful nation, we would not hesitate to inflict unacceptable damage on any adversary who initiates any misadventure against us.
Due to the follies of yet another dictator, we have been fighting a proxy war for a far-off nation, which has brought terrorism to our country. Thanks to the sacrifices made by our brave soldiers and other security forces, we have managed to almost root out terrorism and peace is slowly returning to the country.
I hope this trend continues and we become a strong and peaceful country in the future. Let us forget the bitter past and concentrate on the future, which lies in peace and progress. Progress, in turn, is inseparable from science and technology.
More than 150 years ago, the famous British-American philosopher Prof. Dr. Alfred North Whitehead warned all nations with these words, which are still valid today: “In the conditions of modern life, the rule is absolute: The race which does not value trained intelligence is doomed. Not all your heroism, not all your social charm, not all your wit, not all your victories on land or at sea, can move back the finger of fate. Today we maintain ourselves, tomorrow science will have moved over yet one more step and there will be no appeal from the judgment which will be pronounced on the uneducated.”
o Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan NI & Bar, HI is famous Pakistani nuclear scientist and a metallurgical engineer. He is widely regarded as the founder of gas-centrifuge enrichment technology for Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent program. The President, Islamic Republic of Pakistan conferred upon Dr. Khan the award of Nishan-i-Imtiaz on 14 August, 1996 and 14 August, 1998. He is also a recipient of Hilal-i-Imtiaz. Dr. Khan is the only Pakistani to have received the highest civil award of “Nishan-i-Imtiaz” twice. Twitter: @DrAQK_official
By Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan