14 May, 2021

Islamic Bombast

After Chagai, are Israeli apprehensions about the prospects of an Islamic bomb misfounded?

Islamic Bombast

IN his 'stinking' death cell, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto framed the original concept of an Islamic bomb. He boasted that had he remained in power, Pakistan would have had the weapon. "The Christian, Jewish and Hindu civilisations have this capa-bility...only the Islamic civilisation was without it, but that position was about to change," he wrote in his prison testament that was smuggled out, banned in Pakistan and later published in India. In the book's introduction is Bhutto's now famous one-liner: that Pakistan will "eat grass to produce the bomb".

Although dismissed as mischievous by contemporaries, today Bhutto's rhetorical flourish is being discussed seriously by many countries in the world. Resentment (by neighbouring Arab states) of Israel's nuclear and conventional defence power, which gives it disproportionate negotiating clout in the region, adds an urgent logic to the need for an "Islamic" weapon.

There are apprehensions that Pakistan's decision to retaliate against India's nuclear tests with...

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