Pakistan may disintegrate again, warns A.Q. Khan

Islamabad, Dec 17 (IANS) Pakistan is at present in a worse situation than it was in 1971, said disgraced nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, warning that "the day will not be far off when we disintegrate again" if social evils are not rectified soon.

"The country is at present in a worse situation than it was in 1971. It is 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 first and foremost necessity is to disengage ourselves from the foreign war and put our own house in order," Khan wrote in an article "Events of 1971" in the opinion section of the News International.

Khan was referring to the war of the India-Pakistan war of 1971, which led to the birth of Bangladesh.

He observed that 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.

"Millions of Pakistanis are fully aware of the reasons behind that tragedy, but it seems that our rulers and the establishment are oblivious to these, despite the fact that it was such a traumatic experience," he wrote.

Khan was put under house arrest in 2004 after confessing to have sent nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea and sought the nation's forgiveness. He later retracted his remarks and alleged that he had been forced by former president Gen (retd.) Pervez Musharraf to make the statement.

His opinion piece said that 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".

"...As is usual here, nobody was held responsible for such a big and tragic disaster."

Recalling the events, Khan wrote: "We know that in March 1971 Gen Yahya Khan sent Gen Tikka Khan to East Pakistan to crush `insurgents'. We saw our own army killing our own people. It is a well-known fact that, when given absolute power, people become cruel."

"Extremely horrible scenes were shown on TV abroad (I was in Belgium at the time) and I was ashamed to see that such cruel acts could be perpetrated by Muslims against Muslims - Pakistanis against fellow-Pakistanis. Everybody is aware of the fact that West Pakistani baboos considered East Pakistan a colony and treated its citizens in the same way as the British used to treat us."

He went on to say that 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...We are behaving no better than mercenaries - killing our own people for a few bucks. We have forgotten how to protect our own borders and sovereignty," he added.

Khan went on to say that it is unfortunate that both our political and military leaders are under the illusion 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 warned.

"The rulers and the establishment are using our poor, brave soldiers as cannon fodder for the sake of a paltry sum in dollars. This money does not contribute to our economy or strength..."