Some thoughts on Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan and his Tehrik Tahaffuze Pakistan

Fazal Rahman, Ph.D.                Completed September 18, 2012
The achievements of Dr. A. Q. Khan in the development of nuclear technology and nuclear deterrence in Pakistan have been of unmatchable service to the country and its people.  In his various articles, he has identified some of the major debilitating and disastrous problems that have developed there, more critically, honestly, and courageously than most others.  However, he has mostly stayed on the surface of these problems and has failed to identify their deeper causes and nature.  Moreover, when it comes to the proposed solutions or course of actions, he misfires and misses not only the eye of the target but the whole board. 
In his recent article, Mehfooz jab tak nahin hai, (16.9.2012), he wrote the details of his splendid upper-class dinners and meetings with various rich industrialists, Federation of the Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industries, and other upper and middle class groups and persons, pinning part of his hopes for the success of his recently launched Tehrik Tahaffuze Pakistan (TTP), on their support.  He did that in a country in which there is widespread hunger, unemployment, poverty, and malnutrition, and a great number of people cannot even afford to eat bread.  It seems that Dr. Khan’s actual socio-cultural horizons are limited to upper and middle classes, the rich and relatively better off.   The chambers of commerce everywhere in the whole world are bastions of the most elitist and reactionary groups of the capitalist class.  In the US, before the Second World War, these were swarming with fascists and supporters of fascism.  They still are, but are now operating under the guise of “democracy”.  In Pakistan, the chambers of commerce and industries consist of the representatives of both the capitalist and feudal classes, a reflection of the capitalist-feudal political economy.  Moreover, a large and dominant part of these classes is also tied to the foreign imperialist capital, a reflection of the dependant nature of the capitalist-feudal political economy of Pakistan.  What does it mean to proudly rub shoulders with them and express joy and gratitude to them in the hopes of their support for the TTP?  They are the real powers behind the government, military, judiciary, parliament, and various other institutions of society; are pillars of the status quo; and are responsible for where Pakistan is today and where it is heading.   How can they be expected to bring about the colossal radical politico-economic, cultural, and mass psychological changes that are essential to put Pakistan and Pakistanis on the right track? 
The TTP seems to be focused on the next elections and seems to be doing very little else, except counseling and advocating the election of scientists, engineers, and other technocrats and honest, pure, experienced, free, and professional etc. candidates.  Honest, free, pure, experienced, professional etc. are formal and empty words, which, without their specific contents and relations to the specific and concrete politico-economic, cultural, ethical, philosophical, and religious problems and positions, are not only meaningless, but have been thoroughly abused by all types of hypocritical and crooked politicians for fooling and misleading the public during elections.  Almost all the Pakistani politicians and candidates are claiming to have these qualities, while, in fact, they are their opposites.  The key point is that the proposition of making such formal, contentless, and general words as the criteria for selection of candidates in the electoral process is logically and factually flawed and confusionist.  Any candidate can attach these to himself.  And most do.  The real and effective criteria for the selection of candidates must include their clearly stated positions and proposals for the solution of specific and concrete national and international problems, for example, those of poverty; unemployment; extreme economic and social inequality; corruption; civil war; crime; class differences and relations; distribution of wealth, income, land, and property; energy shortage and crisis; the more than $67 billion foreign debt; freedom from US and Western domination; restoration of national sovereignty, etc.  Nothing will reveal the real character, competence, integrity, knowledge, intelligence, and patriotism of the candidates as these positions and proposals will. 
As far as the election of technocrats, scientists, and engineers for political offices is concerned, this would be disastrous, as they are, by and large, ignorant of not only all the social, politico-economic, and human sciences and philosophy, but are so narrowly specialized in a tiny little area of natural reality-about which they know a lot-that they are also, in general, ignorant or know very little about other areas of natural sciences, as well.  Moreover, most of the social and natural scientists in Pakistan and India are highly westernized and brain-washed with the western civilization and capitalism.  They would be likely to continue the relations of dependence with the western capitalist and imperialist countries.  The great Spanish philosopher, Ortega y Gasset had called such narrow specialists, the modern scientists, the learned ignoramuses.  And let us not forget our own Allama Iqbal, “Alim fazil bech rahe hein apna deen iman. Apni khudi pehchan, o ghafil Afghan”.  Without even knowing what Allama Iqbal said to them, a great majority of Afghans are not ghafil any more and are doing what he had advised them to do.  They are not selling their deen iman, but, on the contrary, are sacrificing their lives for their deen, iman, national liberation, and freedom from occupation and imperialism.  Most of them are not even literate, much less highly educated or scientists or engineers.
As ignorance and confusion on the contradictory nature and effects of science and technology on human affairs and on the biosphere of this planet, and their interactions with the politico-economic systems, is widespread, especially among the technocrats, it may be useful to briefly describe the history of some of them.  Needless to say that this is a most complex and vast topic and we can only deal with it very briefly here.  It is now indisputable that under capitalism and imperialism, science and technology have produced far more problems and damages than the benefits.  Global warming; ozone layer depletion; pollution of food, water, soil, and air; creation of all types of weapons of mass destruction, which can-and probably will-annihilate human species, as well as most other forms of life on the Planet Earth, are some of the self-evident examples of that.  Much less obvious or unknown are the contradictory effects on human nature, soul, society, culture, philosophy, psychology, and other human and social sciences.  Modern science and technology are predominantly the products of Western Capitalist Civilization, especially during and after the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods between 15th and 18th centuries.  In the middle ages, Muslim scientists were far more advanced than the Europeans, and they were the ones who introduced the latter to the beginnings of logic and science, contained in the ancient Greek philosophy, especially that of Aristotle, and to advances in medicine, astronomy, mathematics, and other sciences of those times.  However, with the decline of power of Muslims, particularly in Spain and at the hands of Mongols, their science and technology also declined and Europe became dominant in politico-economy, military, and science and technology.  It robbed vast amounts of wealth and resources from rest of the world through colonialism and neo-colonialism, which enabled it to invest heavily in the further development of science and technology and industry.  Specializations proliferated and huge armies of scientists and technologists were created and employed in them.  In some countries, like the US, majority of the scientists and technologists now work for the military related research and development and production.
As a result of all that, a particular kind of society, the Advanced-Capitalist-Imperialist-Technocratic-Society (ACITS)-involving a particular type of human nature-has  developed in the West, which rest of the world, including the Muslim countries, is feverishly, frantically, and blindly trying to imitate and reproduce, without being aware of or ignoring the great historical and philosophical controversies that took place in the West during various developmental stages of ACITS, in which some insightful Western thinkers and philosophers (mostly from the Continental Europe) identified and described the various dangerously negative and destructive effects of the absolutization and universalization of one-sided science and technology, and of the indiscriminate application of the methodology of natural sciences that deal with the objects and forces of nature, to the study of human nature, mind, soul, society, culture, philosophy, psychology, and other human and social sciences.  Existentialism and phenomenology were reactions to such developments.  Karl Marx had also seen some of those effects in the interactions of capitalism and science and technology.  On the other hand, positivism, neo-positivism, and analytic “philosophies” also started emerging in Europe, which attempted to even further absolutize the methods of natural sciences, their universal applications, and reduction of all reality and knowledge to these.  The influence of these so-called “philosophies” has been the greatest in the English-speaking countries, resulting in powerful cultural and mass psychological mutilations and distortions in their populations.
In the Third World countries like Pakistan, which are in a frenzy of one-sided scientific, technological, and capitalist development, there is no awareness of the destructive and negative effects of the absolutization of natural sciences and their methodologies, or the great controversies that developed in Europe, in regard to these.  They also fail to see that the immense successes of natural sciences in the ACITS have led to the immense failure of human nature, soul, and culture.  The key point is that these are some of the most complex matters that have evolved in the entire human history, which need deep study and knowledge, which most scientists and technologists are unaware and ignorant of.
Science and technology are important parts of the development of human civilization.  However, the following two basic causes and sources have perverted and distorted their nature and applications to produce the greatest threat to the biosphere, human nature, soul, and the very survival of human species and other forms of life:
1.  Their absolutization, universalization, one-sided application of their methodology to the study and understanding of human nature, mind, soul, society, culture, philosophy, psychology, and other human and social sciences, and denial of reality of anything or any knowledge that cannot conform to that methodology.
2.  Interactions of capitalist and imperialist political economy with science and technology, in which the former abuse, distort, pervert, and evilize the latter, in pursuit of insatiable greed for profits and domination.
The TTP has no politico-economic ideology, philosophy, or concrete program or proposals that would address, much less resolve, the lethal and colossal problems, inflicted upon the nation and its people by almost all the civilian and military governments and political leaders and parties throughout the country’s sad history-problems that have now become compounded and accumulated to their current lethal types and levels.  Without such intellectual foundations, no political movement or party can have any hope or chance of success.  In this respect, the TTP is even much more deficient than most other political parties or movements.  So, what is the TTP counting on?  It seems that it is mostly counting on the popularity and personality cult of Dr. Khan in Pakistan, somewhat similar to Tehrik-e-Insaf, which is hoping that the popularity and personality cult of its leader, Imran Khan, will cover up and make up for all its gigantic flaws and deficiencies, which, although not that extreme as those of the TTP, are nevertheless similar in their nature, as mentioned above.  It is very unlikely that such strategy and tactics, only supplemented by rhetoric and demagoguery-without a concrete political-economy, ideology, and philosophy-will succeed.  Even if, by some miracle, it does, it will only produce some cosmetic changes at best.  The basic structural status quo will continue unabated.
The fundamental problem with Dr. Khan’s analyses, like with those of most other leaders and writers in the Pakistani media, is that these float above the class structure, the relations of production, and class forces of the social system and society.  As such, they inevitably float above the surface, as the deeper causes of the problems that are described in these writings and analyses, are rooted in these.  These problems constitute social diseases, and like physical diseases, unless their causes are identified accurately and scientifically, they cannot be treated or cured.  Hence, any hopes or expectations for the solution of these problems, while floating on the surface and without identifying their causes, are futile.  Another major problem with most Pakistani leaders and intellectuals is that they pretend and act as if they are above the classes and class struggle and conflict.  This is totally ludicrous and false.  Objectively, they are part of a definite class, even though, subjectively they may attempt to identify with and promote the interests and powers of a different class.  Some of these problems are not restricted to Pakistan but are widespread in other countries too.  However, here we are discussing these in relation to Pakistan and therefore are focusing on it.
Like most Pakistanis, this author has great respect for the scientific accomplishments and also, up to a point, for the socio-cultural and political thoughts of Dr. Khan.  However, this respect must not be allowed to suppress or block the objective and truthful identification or analysis of the flaws and deficiencies of his political and economic approaches and analyses.  It is important to try to prevent further illusions, related to personality cults, inflicting Pakistanis.  They are already saturated with them.
The focus of this critique is on the TTP.  However, this does not mean that the author considers other political movements or parties in Pakistan to be any better.  To the contrary, as stated in his previous paper,
, he considers most of the others to be rotten to the core and any future solutions to Pakistan’s immense problems will require their abolition.  This critique of the approaches of Dr. Khan and TTP is meant to be constructive.  Hopefully, the TTP will evolve into a viable political movement and party by establishing some essential ideological, philosophical, politico-economic, and intellectual foundations and positions, without which no political movement or party can survive, much less succeed.

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