Notes from A.Q. Khan

The Pakistani press is in a fascinating uproar about the Kerry-Lugar aid bill, which the Pakistani military contends violates Pakistan’s sovereignty. (Foreign Policy’s Blake Hounshell writes that, in going public with their objections to conditions in the bill, the military has “shown a bald-faced willingness to dictate political outcomes,” endangering Pakistan’s precarious civil-military balance.)

Another county heard from: A.Q. Khan, father of the Pakistani nuclear bomb, who turns out to have had a weekly column in English-language daily The News since November 2008, while he was still under house arrest. (He was freed, with restrictions, in February.) He writes about a number of subjects, ranging from ”Tolerance in Islam” to ”Matters Metallurgical.” Pakistan’s Daily Times describes the content of yesterday’s column, not yet online, in which Khan weighs in on the Kerry-Lugar bill from the perspective of “national honour,” the loss of which he blames for “social and other maladies.” “We are now universally looked down upon as beggars,” the Daily Times quotes him.

Khan’s column bears the name Random Thoughts, and has the gravitas to match. Last month, a letter to The News’ editor pointed out the almost verbatim similarity between one of Khan’s columns and language on the websites of University of Sussex, Imperial College London, and University of Cambridge. More recently, Khan has kept it wholesome with ”Pleasant Memories”, a recollection of his travels around Karachi. His description of a driver stopping to save a kitten from the middle of the road is startlingly earnest, as is his pain at observing a car strike a dove. (“Why intentionally kill an innocent bird? It still hurts me to think of it.”) On a lighter note, though, he also tried fried locusts and found them to be “quite tasty.”

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Kathy Gilsinan is the associate editor at World Politics Review