Islamabad: Possessing more nuclear weapons than India will not make Pakistan more secure, said a commentary in a Pakistani daily, pointing out that "the Bomb" had not helped to achieve “Kashmiri liberation”, and instead India`s grip on Kashmir was tighter.
The commentary in the Express Tribune also said that Pakistan has "deep and serious problems that cannot be solved by more or better weapons".
Pervez Hoodbhoy, who teaches nuclear and particle physics, in a comment piece `Pakistan`s nukes: How many are enough?`, wrote that news from the US that Pakistan probably has more nuclear weapons than India must have thrilled many.
If for argument`s sake, we suppose that Pakistan surpasses India in numbers - say by 50 percent or even 100 percent, "Will that really make Pakistan more secure? Make it more capable of facing current existential challenges?," he asked.
"The answer is, no."
"Pakistan`s basic security problems lie within its borders: growing internal discord and militancy, a collapsing economy, and a belief among most citizens that the state cannot govern effectively. These are deep and serious problems that cannot be solved by more or better weapons.”
"Therefore the way forward lies in building a sustainable and active democracy, an economy for peace rather than war, a federation in which provincial grievances can be effectively resolved, elimination of the feudal order and creating a tolerant society that respects the rule of law."
The article pointed out that Pakistanis have long imagined the "Bomb as a panacea for all ills".
"The Bomb did nothing to bring Kashmiri liberation closer. India`s grip on Kashmir is tighter today than it has been for a long time...”
"Pakistan`s strategy for confronting India - secret jihad by Islamic fighters protected by Pakistan`s nuclear umbrella - backfired terribly after Kargil and nearly turned Pakistan into an international pariah.”
"More importantly, today`s hydra-headed militancy owes to the Kashmiri and Afghan mujahideen who avenged their betrayal by Pakistan`s Army and politicians by turning their guns against their former sponsors and trainers."
While saying that some might ask, "Didn`t the Bomb stop India from swallowing up Pakistan?"
"The answer is, no. First, an upward-mobile India has no reason to want an additional 180 million Muslims. Second, even if India wanted to, territorial conquest is impossible."
The article went on to say that conventional weapons in Pakistan are sufficient protection.
"If the mighty American python could not digest Iraq or Afghanistan, there is zero chance for middling India to occupy Pakistan, a country four times larger than Iraq."
"It is, of course, true that Pakistan`s nuclear weapons deterred India from launching punitive attacks at least thrice since the 1998 tests. India could do nothing after Pakistan`s secret incursion in Kargil during 1999, the Dec 13 attack on the Indian parliament the same year (initially claimed by Jaish-i-Muhammad), or the Mumbai attack in 2008 by Lashkar-e-Toiba," it said.
"So should we keep the Bomb to protect militant groups? Surely it is time to realise that conducting foreign policy in this manner will buy us nothing but disaster after disaster."
It ended by saying: "We need fewer bombs on both sides, not more."