Where Pakistan Went Wrong

Okay, so there’s lots of things wrong with Pakistan these days, but there was an interesting bit in an editorial in Newsweek by A.Q. Khan — Pakistan’s notorious nuclear architect:

On Dec. 10, 1984, I informed Gen. Zia-ul-Haq that we could explode a device at a week’s notice, whenever he so desired. We achieved credible nuclear capacity by the second half of the ’80s, and the delivery system was perfected in the early ’90s. For a country that couldn’t produce bicycle chains to have become a nuclear and missile power within a short span—and in the teeth of Western opposition—was quite a feat.

I have to wonder: how would Pakistan have turned out if, instead of focusing its resources on building up its nuclear program, it invested in the factories, the foundries, the workers, the mining operations, the transportation networks, and so on for manufacturing, distributing, and selling bicycle chains (for example) instead.  I think the world — and Pakistan — would have been a better place for it.

Perhaps they would have turned out more like South Korea or Taiwan instead of remaining a dangerous, unstable, largely third-world country with little prospect for economic and industrial progress.

It’s sad that a guy who could figure out the intricacies and complexities of constructing a nuclear weapon has lost all perspective on what really would have advanced Pakistan and would have been a far more worthy investment of Pakistan’s resources: creating gainful employment opportunities, building industry and commerce, and creating hope for their people.

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