New Delhi: Pervez Hoodbhoy, prominent Pakistani nuclear physicist and defence analyst, criticised his country’s government and said that “normal countries” worked for the betterment of their citizens.
Speaking at a cultural festival in Karachi Saturday, Hoodbhoy said that Pakistan needed to “become a normal country”.
He added, “Pakistan is in a state of confusion because it was born in a state of confusion.”
Hoodbhoy also criticised the two-nation theory proposed by Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, which led to the bifurcation of British-ruled India into India and Pakistan.
He explained, “The basis of Pakistan as articulated by Jinnah was that there are only two nations that live on this subcontinent, they are mutually hostile and can never live in peace. The second part was that Muslims must form a nation”.
“The second part is completely nonsensical, if Muslims formed a nation which would live at peace with every part of that nation we would not have Bangladesh,” added Hoodbhoy.
He also referred to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said, “Given Modi’s ascent to power…we can see that hostility still exists between religions.”
Vocal against the current establishment
This not the first time Hoodbhoy has criticised the ruling establishment.
In a 2015 interview with The Diplomat, he said, “The liberal doesn’t want any ideologue, or an Islamic, Hindu, Christian, or Marxist state telling him or her what to do.”
He was also included in Foreign Policy magazine’s list of the 100 most influential global thinkers in 2011 for his “bold secular defiance”.
With a PhD in nuclear physics, Hoodbhoy serves as a distinguished professor of mathematics and physics at Zohra and ZZ Ahmed Foundation, Forman Christian College, Lahore.
He is a regular columnist with Pakistani daily Dawn and has been consistently vocal about the state of politics and media in his country. “The real fountainhead of irrationality in Pakistan is its electronic media. Cheap posturing, thrilling sound-bytes, unsupported claims — everything goes. In particular, you have the media mujahideen who have done enormous damage to the population’s power to reason,” he said in The Diplomat interview.
Criticised the two-nation theory
At the festival, Hoodbhoy expressed his disagreement with Jinnah over the formation of Pakistan, “Jinnah was never able to put down what Pakistan was supposed to be. He never wrote a single research paper or an essay.”
He said that while the broader idea of Pakistan was Muslim unity, this has not proven to be true. “If Muslims could live in peace together, we wouldn’t have the separatist movement in Balochistan, which again no one is allowed to talk about”.
He also referred to the 1971 war and creation of Bangladesh and said, “State of confusion should have ended in 1971 when the two nation theory went into the Bay of Bengal. We should have gotten rid of it. It is nonsense today”.
‘Pakistan needs no ideology’
For Hoodbhoy the idea of Pakistan is “built in the common interest” of the Balochis, Sindhis, Punjabis, Pathans, Gilgits etc.
“Today, we don’t need an ideology for Pakistan,” he maintained and added that this was not a country for armed forces but a country for the people.
He praised Bangladesh for its economic growth as well. “Look at Bangladesh, who were our cousins, they are doing much better than we are. Their forex reserves are four times ours and their quality of index is so much better.”
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