ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Battle against Nuclear Weapons

Confronting the Bomb: Pakistani and Indian Scientists Speak Out edited by Pervez Hoodbhoy (Karachi: Oxford University Press), 2013; pp 444, Rs 1,395.

Pervez Hoodbhoy’s Confronting the Bomb is a masterly exposition of the moral argument against nuclear weapons. It is the saga of one man’s journey against all odds to frequently challenge powerful advocates of the super weapon not only in his own country, Pakistan, and its adversary, India, but also in the larger world. He is, however, most credible, eloquent, sincere, and earnest when he speaks about Pakistan and its existential crisis by weaving a cogent argument based on his background as a nuclear physicist and his love for his country. He is a patriot in the true sense of the word, and as he struggles against the bomb, he is also in search of “Pakistan ka kya matlab?” – the true meaning of Pakistan.

He recollects his many encounters, which often turn into confrontations, with the high and the mighty. He actually relishes them. Hoodbhoy does not mince words. Notice the title he has chosen. It is not just “controlling” the bomb that he is interested in. He wants to confront it, or even better, wrestle it from those who want it so badly. It is what makes the book so readable. It, however, fails to do justice to its purported goal, which is to give voice to the scientists in Pakistan and India who spoke out against the bomb in their countries.

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