Nukes are not coconuts

Nations dismay over how the terrorists breached the security and inflicted damaged to strategic maritime assets at the PNS Mehran, and how the Naval Chief refused to accept it as a security lapse is understandable. Rather it is ridiculing on his part to say two terrorists escaped from the same route which they used to enter. But the dismay has not gone out of proportion because the people genuinely believe that their armed forces are the only entity whom they look up to in the hours of trial. However, ironically enough, there is a group within the country that has an instinct of hating and criticizing the army. To them, the army is responsible for everything wrong in this country. These self acclaimed ultra liberals are busy deriding and ridiculing the armed forces with frothing mouths on the Mehran base and Abbottabad incidents. Common sense is not what they aspire to propagate. Its their love to hold tail coats of the Americans that drives them to miss the obvious. They are not realizing that their innocent attempts are benefiting the Americans, and above all our arch enemy India where there are jubilations all around. The neighbouring country obviously has reasons to celebrate. Not losing the opportunity, the Indian government made public on May 7 their March 28 secretly handed-over list of 50 most wanted men, including 31 Indians and 19 Pakistanis, alleging that those 'terrorist-criminals were hiding in Pakistan. But to Pakistans luck this Indian move backfired as Khan R Qamar, the most wanted criminal -- 41st on the list -- surfaced in India claiming before media that he was very much in the country, and later one Feroze Abdullah, the 24th on the wanted list, was found in an Indian jail. This led to an immediate withdrawal of the list by New Delhi, realizing that their move made mockery of their claim at a time when Pakistan was being criticized for security lapse of May 2 operation. But same sense did not prevail in Pakistan. The Abbottabad operation was no doubt a failure of intelligence, which cannot be defended. But it is also a failure of the state policy, if it exists, which treated the Americans as their ally in the war against terror. If now we feel betrayed and humiliated, there is a dire need to review our state policy. Had our state policy been clear, we would not have faced such a situation. Anyway all is not lost if unconquerable will prevails. Also it is strange that nuclear assets of no other nation are under such intense discussion. Focus of international media over our assets is due to the fact that we are the sole Muslim nuclear armed country. But uninformed criticism of our own media and thinkers is beyond comprehension. Majority of Indian nuclear sites (storage and launch) are located in area which is known to the world as Red corridor. This area is not under effective control of Indian state and has almost been ceded to Marxist insurgents, whom Manmohan Singh had described as the biggest threat to Indian security. With nuclear sites in such a vulnerable area one wonders, what are the safeguards Indians have taken to avoid falling of nuclear material in wrong hands? If this was an effort to further improve the defense against emerging threats, it should be welcome. But if sole purpose of such criticism is to avenge some perceived grievances, it is no national service. Days of Armed forces being a holy cow are nearing an end. Discussion on matters of defense, security and defense budget is no more a taboo. Informed and well researched debate will certainly improve efficiency and capability of armed forces but treating them as mere punching bags does not augur well. FOZIA KHAN NIAZI, May 28.

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