Learn lessons from Hiroshima, author tells subcontinent

AL AIN - An Australian author and journalist of Pakistani origin, who has depicted a nuclear war in South Asia in his new book, says he is not overly optimistic about the success of the peace process between arch rivals India and Pakistan.

By Lana Mahdi

Published: Tue 9 Aug 2005, 11:10 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:13 PM

"Hiroshima may well be repeated after 60 years in South Asia. The people of the subcontinent, jubilant over nuclear test explosions, should learn from Japan about the horrors of an atomic attack and how it changed the psyche of a nation," Ashraf Shad, who is currently the Academic Editor at the UAE University Research Affairs Sector, has warned.

Ashraf Shad worked for the Australian public broadcaster SBS in Sydney. He is the author of half a dozen books and is an analyst on South Asian affairs.

Reflecting on the 60th anniversary of the first atomic bomb explosion in Hiroshima, Ashraf says telling each other about missile test plans was not enough, and the peace process should start by ending the arms and missile-testing race.

"Forget the Kashmir issue, they couldn't even agree to end the senseless war on unmanned Siachen Glacier and their foreign policy is still focused on negating each other in international fora. How can they claim that the peace process is on track," asked Shad, in an interview with Khaleej Times.

Talking about his recent novel Sadr-e-Mohtaram (The President) which was critically acclaimed in Karachi at a function last month at the Arts Council of Pakistan, he said the novel ends with the beginning of a lasting peace after a disastrous atomic war between the two countries.

"This is only a fantasy and the horrific scenario is not the result of any analysis or a prediction," he said, adding: "But I am not overly optimistic that the peace process between the two countries will last, though saying it may be politically incorrect."

According to him, the stereotyped visits by cricketers and film personalities and the bus service are window dressing and occur whenever the peace whistles blow. The enmity is genetically engraved on both sides of the border and confidence-building measures will have to dig deep down the systems, he said.

"A one-line compliment to the founder of Pakistan was about to demolish the political career of top BJP leader L. K. Advani. Similarly, a Pakistani politician can't dare publicly praise the founders of Indian freedom, including the universally acclaimed Gandhi," he pointed out.

Shad said patriotism should be redefined as a positive sentiment instead of a source of hatred. For lasting peace, according to him, leaders of both countries should open their hearts and find courage to respect and appreciate each other's history.

"They should find some meeting ground to support each other and not to act as enemies whenever they meet in international arenas," he said.

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