By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
CIA Director George Tenet told the Senate Intelligence Committee last year that Osama bin Laden was trying to obtain nuclear materials. In the early hours of October 24, intelligence agencies arrested two premier nuclear scientists -- Sultan Bashir Mahmood and Dr. A. Majeed -- along with six other peers from Islamabad and Lahore. All of them belong to Ummah Tameer Nao -- the Muslim Nation’s Reconstruction -- which had been working in Afghanistan. Though the exact nature of their job has not been disclosed, it is thought that they were assigned to an irrigation project. They are being investigated for alleged links to the Taliban regime and Osama bin Laden. Sultan Bashir, who had been chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, is known for his fundamentalist views. In the early 1980s, he came into the limelight when he declared that he was going to record the temperature of hell.
Their arrests provoked an outcry in Pakistan. “If the government tried to deport these praiseworthy sons of the soil to the U.S., we will deport all who have sided with the U.S. in the war on Islam,” one zealot cried in a public meeting.
For me, Pakistan has been a country where nothing seems impossible. Now, it is hard to remain optimistic. Thousands of people from Pakistan have crossed into Afghanistan to fight the holy war after September 11. Back home, those religious parties who are agitating against President Musharraf proudly call themselves Taliban, and they boast about eventually taking over Pakistan with a popular movement. So the bad news for us and the entire world is that if these fanatics take over Pakistan, they might get ahold of atomic bombs. If they can play havoc with rifles and small bombs, then what will happen if Pakistan‘s future rulers, after a civil war, become fundamentalists? The unholy voice that calls for overthrowing Musharraf’s somewhat liberal government gains strength with the continued pounding of Afghanistan. Osama bin laden, with his finger on the nuclear button, could bring hell on Earth in no time. How we escape this doomsday scenario is up to our intention and intellect. Future rulers of Pakistan and Taliban, the writing is on the wall.
Ali Ahmed Rind writes a weekly political column for the English-language The News in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. He lives in Karachi with his wife and 9-month-old daughter.
Find everything you're looking for in your city
Find the best happy hour deals in your city
Get today's exclusive deals at savings of anywhere from 50-90%
Check out the hottest list of places and things to do around your city