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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pakistan: Making the News

So, India has launched its moon mission. Will Pakistan follow suit? Like it did for the nuclear race? Most of the people will say no.

"Nuclear race was different!" would come the reply. Pakistan was fortunate enough to get hold of AQ Khan at that time. Leaving the current political turmoil aside, even the country's financial crisis do not allow us to spend on space programs!

India's moon mission's cost was $86 million! Can Pakistan afford that? Does Pakistan have the technical ability to do something that complex? Not only that, even the topic discussed here would be sneered by most of the Indians: "India competes with China. Pakistan is way far behind."

"Huh?" is my reply. Not that I see it happening in near future---I don't live in a fairy land. It's just that there is nothing fundamentally different between the "abilities" of India and Pakistan. You say "$86 million?" That's just one year's package of one of the techies from Pakistan! The government may be weak but Pakistan has always been a nation of individuals. Which country could have the "World's Nicest Man" as its citizen? Pakistan, of course.

It's not just people, Pakistan is rich on minerals. We have world's 5th largest copper and gold mine, world's second largest salt mine, huge coal reserves (sufficient to provide energy for 500 years), etc. Why else is the US so much insisting on conducting a "free of cost" geological survey of Pakistan?

So, is it the technology which we lack? You dare say not. Did you hear about the Big Bang Experiment being conducted in Switzerland by CERN? Do you know 27 Pakistanis are working there? Do you know some of the equipment has been prepared at a very low cost in Pakistan.

So, what is it that holds Pakistan back? A lot of things but the most important is the political system. First of all, there are several countries with vested interests in Pakistan. These include the US, Russia, India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, China, etc. Except for China, all these countries directly interfere with the political system of Pakistan. Since the day Pakistan came into being, these external forces have exploited the internal weaknesses of the people of Pakistan, and we haven't been able to stand on our feet; to the extent that today, the country is facing the threat of bankruptcy.

The US is bent upon dragging Pakistan (with no inclination towards the stability of the country) into its own interests, and so are a few other countries.

The good things is, as the script of Matrix puts it, "One way or another, Neo, this war is going to end." Nobody is sure when this is going to happen. Perhaps, we are all waiting for a big disaster to happen! We know the "recovery" hasn't yet begun but as a nation Pakistanis are very clear about the destiny.

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