Pakistan’s nuclear godfather has suddenly emerged from seclusion (involuntary) and penned a risible column for the Daily Jang. It is notable, this column, for his self-aggrandizing, self-importance, and self-service. Keeping to the tradition, he sprinkles the column with bits of Urdu poetry (though not the tired old morsels), and frames himself as a “just a worker”. And then he launches into a tirade against Musharraf, as well as a glorification of the Bhutto family. I thought that the greater English-speaking world would want a peek into the mind of A. Q. Khan, so I translated it. Enjoy:
‘Til The Dawn
- Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan
Why ask me the cause of my silence?
There must be some reason why I remain quiet
In 1961, I was about to embark, for higher education, to the most acclaimed technical university in Berlin. I thought that I should inform the Pakistani public, especially the students, about the conditions in Germany. In those days, the office of the Daily Jang was on Karachi Business Road. During college (D. J. Sindh Goverment Science College), I would routinely walk by the office. So I went in to meet Mir Khalil al-Rahman Sahib and seek his advice. At that time, Taki Sahib was the Editor and he immediately arranged for me to meet Mir Sahib. I had heard of him, and now I knew him in person. Mir Sahib was a handsome, tall man with a commanding personality and his intelligence was reflected in his broad forehead. He met me with great affection. He was very keen on my idea and told me to certainly keep the readers of Jang informed from Berlin. And thus, I left for Germany. Berlin, in those days, was the playing field for the political conflict between East and West. Only ten days earlier, East Berlin (i.e. the Eastern Communist Germany) had erected the Wall. Innumerable Germans were running from the Communists towards West Berlin and many were dying from the bullets of VOPOS, ie the East Berlin militia. In the skies, the Russian Mig fighters were daily breaking the sound barriers over the city. My hostel was roughly fifteen minutes away from the Brandenburg Gate, and near the Victory Column.
From there, I began to send reports to Daily Jang under the heading “Letters from Berlin” – which were regularly published. This continued for two years. In the pages of Jang I predicted that the mayor of Berlin, Willy Brandt, would one day become the Chcancellor of Germany. And indeed, in a few years, he did. In late 1963, I shifted from Berlin to the famous technical university in Holland and stopped writing “Letters from Berlin”.
Due to current affairs, I though, why not indulge my disposition, and write once again on the important matters of the country. I have always held a fondness for writing, and if there is anything important, I do write. The habit is …
I cannot break this pagan habit…
Which is not to say that the public remains unaware of my thoughts and my emotions:
I sit quietly, but it appears
as if the whole world is telling my story
No doubt, whenever someone begins to write for the newspapers, the public tries to decipher the intent or the cause:
You may or may not be suspicious, but we
Just gain comfort from telling our painful story
We all know that Good and Evil will always battle in this world. Almighty Allah has warned us of this repeatedly in the Qur’an and declared, “Allah, protect me from the evil of the evil doers and the oppressors”. Some selfish and oppressive people, purely for the sake of their self-interest, trample the rights of the people under their feet. Drunk with power, they even, God forbid, deny the existence of God and his Might. The example of Musharraf is in front of you:
In every age, humans have done evil
In every age, humans have tried to become gods
But, God forbid, the haughtiness of being a god does not make one a god. Even if such people forget entirely about God:
The oppressors now think
As if there is no god left in the world
Our bureaucracy and sycophants play a large role in making these false gods into God. Musharraf is F.A. pass (high-school equivalent), a qualification which we use to employ attendants. By a mistaken promotion, he became our commander-in-chief. It nauseated us to see such a dim-wit lecture the highly educated and the experts on economics, education, foreign policy, commerce and industry. And they would bow in front of him and wag their heads and exclaim at his intelligence. The way of an intelligent ruler (or Dictator) is that he doesn’t choose his companions on the basis of their flattery but on the basis of their expertise and their knowledge; he listens to their advice; and gives them all the help for the completion of important projects. There was this rumor going around about Musharraf that he complains to his Army friends, “I am saddened to see that if uneducated people cannot understand my arguments, it is ok, but even educated people cannot follow me.” The reason is obvious. The ability to pull the trigger of a gun and the ability to make an intelligent statement are clearly different.
Selfish and opportunist people mix heaven and earth in false praise of such rulers, and make them into Plato. These are the people, who because of such actions, weaken the foundations of the country. These people operate like Hitler and his minister of propoganda, and say so many falsehoods that the ruler begins to believe them to be true and begins to consider himself intelligent. The results appear in the destruction of the country. Such was a lie spoken by Mujib ur-Rahman that the money derived from Jute sales, West Pakistan is paving streets with gold in Karachi. It was such a big lie, it was immediately accepted.
I returned to Pakistan in the fourth week of December. This is in 1975, i.e. nearly 33 years ago. I had returned at the request of Bhutto Sahib. Along with my wife and two daughters (aged 7 and 51/2 years), I had intended to return on January 15th. At the sincere request of Bhutto, and for the benefit of the country, I did not hesitate for even a moment: I left the best career, big income, and excellent facilities and stayed behind. I did not receive first salary, 3,000 ruppees monthly, until six months later. And no other compensation from the state:
Strange is God’s grant to the exalted ones
Strange are these people, who bear sorrows but keep their hearts alive
Some of the most prominent expert scientists of the country spread falsehoods in the ears of Bhutto Sahib and Ghulam Ishaq Sahib that this young ruffian is here to make a fool out of you. He will enjoy himself for a few days and them take his leave. They explained the intricacies of the technology and the difficulties and that only three developed countries of the world, ie Holland, Germany and England, have the necessary expertise – an expertise they gained after 20 years of hard work and after the expenditure of nearly 2 billion dollars. Bhutto Sahib and Ghlam Ishaq Khan Sahib possessed the power to see the hidden truths. They had no doubts over my capacity for the truth and knew that I had not said a false word to them. Even though some people told me to declare that we will have an atomic bomb in two or three years.
I refused to tell a lie. They may have used this lie as a basis of their foreign policy and been defeated, as a result. And then some famous scientists decided that they could put some two or three thousand tons of explosive materials in some cave and then explode it and Bhutto Sahib will be satisfied and his obsession will be over. Listen. If politicians tell lies, than it is their profession and they can, without any shame, practice their profession in front of the general simple-minded public. But it is incumbent on us scientists and engineers to always keep our profession and our conscious in mind, and speak only the truth. I have always operated on this principle and never told a lie:
Truthful I am, in my word, O Ghalib God is my witness
I tell the truth when I say, I don’t lie
The jist is that with the help of my colleagues, I made the impossible, possible. In only eight short years, and for a minuscule cost, made this depressed nation into a nuclear power. Bhutto Sahib, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, and General Zia ul-Haq helped without fear and without regret. Any task undertaken with good intentions and with true hard work, is rewarded by Allah. With the help of Honorable Benazir Bhutto, this country became a missile power. At my request, she granted me permission to seek missile technology from China and North Korea and install it here. In this General Mirza Aslam Beg and General Abdul Wahid Kakar played key roles. It is worth thinking that even as countless selfish, bribery-prone, traitors were busy tearing the country apart like hungry wolves, there remained some honest, pious, and skilled people who sacrificed their lives to keep this country on the slow path of progress. With the help of such people, by God’s Will, we will make our country into a developed, welfare-based Islamic state.
I have spend the majority of my life, nearly all of my life. When I look back at my life, it is with peace and contentment, that I did my utmost to serve my dear country. I did not do any favors for my country. Instead, it is this nation that granted me all these favors, which I tried to pay back – piece by piece. I gained higher education and technical excellence in Europe for 15 years and I wanted to use that to serve the country in important matters. In 1999, I proposed that we launch a satellite but this high-school pass dictator did not approve my request. Still, I am proud of my service to my country. In addition to providing it with nuclear, and missile, power, I founded countless educational and welfare organizations. From Khyber to Gawadar, the love that exists in people’s hearts is my greatest prize. One despicable, traitorous foreign agent donned the costume of Presidency and tried to harm me, but he failed in his dirty deed. Instead he, himself, was evicted from the Presidential house in disgrace. And now this self-styled Commando cannot even set a foot in the street of this country. The public will tear him into little pieces and feed him to the eagles. My relationship is with the 170 million people, and it will always remain. No one can stop me from serving this country. We have, in our front, the golden examples of the sacrifices of Honorable Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto. They gave their lives but did not sell their country and became living legends. This is the reason that in “‘Til the Dawn”, I will reveal my thoughts, now and then:
The flame burns in every light, ’til the dawn
My thanks to Naim Sahib for bringing the column to my attention. And my apologies to him, if I messed up the translation…