"I Am Not A Traitor"-Hoodbhoy Responds To Allegations Levelled By A Retired General

Professor Pervez Hoodbhoy on Saturday posted two videos on a YouTube channel, in which he reacted to a series of allegations levelled against him in an earlier video by retired Lt. Gen. Amjad Shoaib. In his video – the first of a series aimed at “exposing Pakistan’s internal enemies” – the general had accused Dr. Hoodbhoy of being anti-Pakistan and for fraternising with its enemies.  Dr. Hoodbhoy responded to each of General Shoaib’s allegations directly and precisely.

The professor began his first video by agreeing with the general’s statement that he opposed Pakistan having an atomic bomb – just as he opposed any country having one. He declared that he was anti-war and he feared that atomic bombs could only lead to widespread destruction for everyone. He mentioned an anthology on the same subject, Confronting the Bomb: Pakistani and Indian Scientists Speak Out, which Dr. Hoodbhoy edited and to which scientists from both sides of the border contributed.

He then responded at length to the general’s claims that he had derided and hurled outrageous insults on Pakistan’s “muhsin” Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan. He noted that the abuse being cited by the general was reported in a discredited and sensationalist newspaper many years ago, from a time when he had not even been in Pakistan. Dr. Hoodbhoy went on to reveal two letters to himself from Dr. A. Q. Khan – dated well after the alleged “abuse” – in which Dr. Khan addresses Dr. Hoodbhoy with deep professional and personal respect. Professor Hoodbhoy concluded his first video by reading out parts from Dr. Khan’s letters in which he – Dr. Khan, the “muhsin” of Pakistan, in General Shoaib’s words – expresses unmistakable disgust at the “army taking the country hostage for all times to come,” among other hard-hitting remarks.

A.Q. Khan to Hoodbhoy dated 3.1.2008

A.Q. Khan to Hoodbhoy dated 22.1.2008

In his second video, Professor Hoodbhoy talked about his documentary, titled Crossing the lines: Kashmir, Pakistan, India, which was screened at an event at the University of Toronto more than 10 years ago. He wondered why the general had thought of digging it up after so many years, even though it had been publicly available all this time anyway.

Hoodbhoy talked about how he attempted to offer an “objective” picture of Kashmir in his documentary, with no designs to malign Pakistan. He remarked that the documentary showed the sufferings of Kashmiris, as well as the crimes of both Hindu extremists and Pakistani jihadists. Therefore, contrary to the general’s claims, the documentary could not have been made at India’s behest. He further remarked that it wasn’t as if he had exposed the erstwhile hidden role of Pakistani jihadists in Kashmir. Instead, he said, he had only represented all of the several distinct narratives with regard to Kashmir objectively, emphasising that the solution to Kashmir’s problems lied not in war but in understanding each other.

Finally, the professor talked about his indubitable love for Pakistan and its people. He recalled his personal “victory” from 1996, of almost singlehandedly saving the campus of Quaid-e-Azam University from the designs of “greedy politicians”.

His final remarks were an appeal to the public to always research and verify new information and to apply reason before believing anything to be fact.