My memories of that day are still  fresh as if a wound that time may never heal. It was 18 years ago that day May 28, 1998 when Pakistan generals did a terrible thing in France-sized southwestern Balochistan. Amid deafening slogans of Allahu Akbar-- the first time in world history wherein religious slogans were raised at a nuclear test site--, the world's largest Islamic military tested nuclear weapons in Balochistan against the explicit wishes of the Baloch people. That day I cried my heart out as I gulped cheap Pakistan whiskey that I used to drink like a fish in those days. To my chagrin youthful Islamists were rejoicing outside the Seaview apartments, where I lived, on the Karachi beach. These Islamists were carrying replicas of nuclear missiles that had name of three countries on them: Israel, India and the United States. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan became the world's first Islamic nuclear power. TV footage showed jubilant processions all over Pakistan, though the Baloch people of Balochistan were highly upset.

The state, government, and people of Israel have justifiably shown concern over Tehran's nuclear ambitions, what intrigues me is the same kind of concern had never been shown in the case of Pakistan, which has more nuclear warheads --120 according to some estimates-- than many times larger neighbor India, which has 105. It will be in the interest of Israel and world Jewry to understand that Pakistani nuclear weapons are no less dangerous than what Iran may one day have. The reasons are many. Thousands of mosques in Pakistan preach the annihilation of Israel through jihad every Friday. Pakistani kids are to this day taught all kinds of nonsense about Jews; Hitler is not projected as a villain of history in Pakistan school books. Right-wing Pakistan defense analysts like Zaid Hamid, who reflects the thinking of the infamous spy service Inter Services Intelligence, openly call for threatening and beating Israel militarily. Pakistan media echoes the state's propaganda to project Jews as bad and Israel as evil, for no rhyme or reason. Scholars of Pakistan descent like Toronto-based Tarek Fatah, author of "The Jew is Not My Enemy: Unveiling the Myths That Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism" remain among those most hated by Pakistan army and the ISI, simply for saying hatred against Jews is uncalled for.  According to another noted writer Daniel Pipes, Pakistan Muslims hatred for Israel and Jews is based on their religious scripture. The hatred for Jews and Hindus has been a staple of Pakistan politics for nearly 70 years now since Pakistan was carved out of India. The Deep State, which means the senior military and civil officials and the intelligence services, have attributed most failures of the state to Hindu-Zionist conspiracies. In this backdrop, Pakistan nuclear weapons should have been a top agenda for Israel's security managers.

However, only a handful of scholars in Israel are really cognizant of the dangers emanating to Israelis from Pakistan. One such scholar is Azriel Bermant, a research associate at the Tel Aviv-based Institute for National Security Studies. According to the 
National Interest, Bermant argues "one could argue that Islamabad poses more of a threat to Israel than Tehran does."  In an article in the Haaretz, Bermant  wrote “Pakistan test-fired a nuclear-capable ballistic missile, the Shaheen III, which Pakistani officials said can reach Israel. This event was barely noticed in Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, God-forsaken people of Balochistan have borne the brunt of Pakistan’s nuclear ambitions. Thousands of acres of tribal lands turned into lifeless waste while the Pakistan media boasted that the tests May 28, 1998  turned the hills of Chagai from black to white. Islamabad, which officially celebrates the test date as Yom-i-Takbeer or day of Greatness of God,  banned any studies related to the nuclear fallout amidst complaints of the local Baloch that their newborns are affected, their camels are dying and their fruits and vegetables no longer taste as good as they used to. Unlike their Pakistani counterpart, many of the Baloch youths are highly pro-Israel and are seen carrying Israeli flags in Western capitals; in Pakistan Israel flags are not allowed. Just like Israel has reached out to the Kurds, it maybe worthwhile for Israel to reach out to the Baloch, who openly oppose Pakistan nuclear ambitions.  

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.



Relevant to your professional network? Please share on Linkedin
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or viewpoint of The Jerusalem Post. Blog authors are NOT employees, freelance or salaried, of The Jerusalem Post.

Think others should know about this? Please share