Blogs > HNN > Pakistan Earthquake, (2)

Oct 10, 2005 10:54 pm

Pakistan Earthquake, (2)

This piece in Slate has a good compilation of American coverage of the earthquake in Pakistan.

I'd wanted to refrain from criticizing the Pakistani government at a time like this, but the thought of children trapped in schools without means of rescue (quoted in the Slate roundup) prompts the following thought. We are told by the Pakistani government that there is no equipment to rescue these children. And yet Pakistan has atomic weapons. Is this not an odd inversion of priorities? Did the government of Pakistan think that they needed an"Islamic bomb" more desperately than they needed Chinook-type helicopters and heavy-moving equipment? Or that India (or Israel!) posed a greater threat to Pakistan than an earthquake of this kind?

It's a question not just--or even principally--for the Musharraf government, but for its predecessors, most notably the Nawaz Sharif and various Bhutto governments that were so pathetically proud of the"Islamic bomb" (and the Kargil expedition, etc.) in the first place. The effort spent on such futilities might have been spent preparing for an earthquake. It's not as though there was no warning.

Where, by the way, is that genius scientist A.Q. Khan now that we need him? What exactly has he done for Pakistan that was worth doing? Maybe that's what those people in Muzaffarabad are wondering about. In any case, I am.

P.S., 11 pm: Useful information on earthquake relief efforts from a post by Manan Ahmed on Cliopatria.

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