Those who are awake to the ground reality of India’s inveterate hostility towards Pakistan that has not mellowed down over the past 63 years of the two countries’ existence – and even the man in the street is conscious of it – must feel surprised at the manner in which Railway Minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour (ANP) has found fault with Pakistan’s successful effort to become a nuclear power. But then one must keep in mind the historical antecedents of the ANP that reek of rank antipathy towards the creation of a separate state for the Muslims of the subcontinent, and unmistakably demonstrate an all-out friendly feelings towards New Delhi. Understandably, that background makes Mr Bilour overlook the fact that it was first India that had exploded a nuclear device in 1974, deceptively terming it a peaceful explosion and sacrilegiously codenaming it “Buddha is smiling”. That had sent a warning signal to Islamabad about the real intentions of New Delhi that found expression in the nuclear tests in 1998.
Had Mr Bhutto not reacted with the determination, symbolised by the declaration about eating grass, if necessary, to make an atomic bomb, Pakistan would have now been a vassal state of India, which would have exercised untrammelled hegemony over the subcontinent. It should not have been too difficult for Mr Bilour or, for that matter, anyone else with the slightest political sense to have reached that conclusion. To think that nation’s wealth was first wasted on making nuclear bomb, and that that mistake today stands compounded with the continued expenditure on maintaining the arsenal, is anything but logical. It helps preserve our independence in the face of New Delhi’s ambitions of overlordship of the region that are no secret. Its smaller neighbours have, at one time or another, had the experience of its coercive attempts at whittling down their sovereignty – Nation