Written by Tufail Ahmad
Also Advocates Global Islamism And Arming The Taliban to Shoot Down U.S. Drones
Using the micro-blogging website Twitter, former Pakistani nuclear scientist Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan glorifies the advancement of the Pakistani nuclear program, inculcates global Islamism among his followers, and seeks to legitimize attacks against the West.Khan is chairperson of the Tehreek-e-Tahafuz-e-Pakistan (TTP or the Movement for the Defense of Pakistan), a new political party. Using the handle @DrAQ_Khan, he has published more than 1,000 tweets as of February 11, 2013 and has over 18,800 followers. His tweets are aimed at a nationalistic audience of Pakistanis.
The tweets comment on issues and events in Pakistani life; for example, sending greetings on Prophet Muhammad's birthday or when Pakistan's cricket team wins matches, steps for electoral reforms in Pakistan, activities of Pakistani government, endorsing tweets and websites that promote Shi'ite-Sunni unity in Pakistan, justifying Pakistan's nuclear program, supporting freedom for Kashmir, and criticizing India and the Amn ki Ashapeace initiative launched jointly by Pakistani and Indian media groups, among others.
Khan's tweets also link to his columns in Roznama Jang and The News, major Pakistani dailies. A November 12, 2012 tweet linked to a column in which he favors a system of religious schools in Pakistan so that "students coming [out] of these schools would then not only have religious knowledge (Koran, Seerat-un-Nabi, Ahadees [personality and sayings of the prophet])… but also knowledge of Urdu, mathematics, science, history, geography…." A September 21, 2012 post he retweeted reveals his ideological stance on Pakistani politics and society: "Come forward as servants of Islam, organize the people economically, socially, educationally and politically." Advocating an international Islamism, he tweeted on October 2, 2012: "Pakistan is bound to become the headquarters of the world Islamic government in future!"
Khan, who was forced under U.S. pressure by Pakistani military ruler General Pervez Musharraf to go on television in 2004 to admit his role in international nuclear proliferation, is being watched for his possible participation in the 2013 elections in Pakistan, though his party is unlikely to win. On February 3, he tweeted an announcement: "We'll contest these elections along with Jamaat-e-Islami." A tweet dated January 28 noted that a "missile" will be the symbol of Tehreek-e-Tahafuz-e-Pakistan in the upcoming elections. On February 2, he expressed a desire to be a caretaker prime minister of Pakistan during the 2013 elections, stating: "If I were given the chance to become the caretaker prime minister, I'd accept it with impartiality and justice." Earlier, in a tweet dated December 4, 2012, Khan noted that he "personally wouldn't run [in] elections" but would run a campaign in favor of his Tehreek-e-Tahafuz-e-Pakistan party.
Through his tweets in mid-January 2013, Dr. Khan endorsed a failed bid by Pakistani religious scholar Tahir-ul-Qadri to unseat the elected Pakistani government through an uprising, ruing in a January 17 tweet that cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan rescued the government by not joining Qadri's mass rally in Islamabad. In other posts, the former nuclear scientist has stated that he disagrees with Qadri in many respects. His hopes for a revolutionary change in Pakistan were dashed when Qadri's march failed. Khan, who is seen as the father of Pakistan's nuclear program, is aware that the 2013 general elections in Pakistan may test his popularity, as expressed in a December 14, 2012 tweet: "Elections 2013 shall make it clear how much my nation loves me and how much respect I earned. My last test as a patriot."
On the occasion of Kashmir Solidarity Day on February 5 this year, he tweeted that "our people can bring freedom for Kashmir this year, by using their votes rightly in elections 2013 [i.e. by voting for Khan's allies]." A day earlier, his tweet noted in Urdu: "India you do not have that line [of destiny] on your palm, Kashmir is not the fiefdom of your father…" On February 2, he outlined a national agenda for Pakistan, stating: "#FreeKashmir is a trend which should top not only Pakistan but the world as well."
A January 24, 2013 tweet defended his role in making Pakistan a nuclear-armed state, noting: "If Pakistan weren't a nuclear state, India would've gone too far in its quest for gaining power and destroyed Asian peace and stability." He is routinely criticized by Indian Twitterati, to which he responded in a tweet dated December 8, 2012: "All the hate coming in my timeline from Twitter users of India proves my point. Hinduism isn't a religion. It's an ideology as well."
In December 2012, Zeeshan Abbas, the captain of Pakistan's "blind" cricket team, accidently consumed phenyl, a cleaning fluid, apparently mistaking it for mineral water in his Bangalore hotel. He was hospitalized and cleared to play by Indian doctors in Bangalore. However, the incident was presented by some groups in Pakistan as an acid attack on Pakistani cricketers. On December 8, Khan posted several tweets: "It should be clear that India would've thrown acid a thousand times on Pakistan and Kashmir if we weren't a nuclear power"; "The attack on our blind cricket team captain is a slap on face of those so-called [Pakistani] liberals who favor Hinduism and deny two-nation theory [a movement that Hindus and Muslims could not live together that led to the creation of Pakistan in 1947]."
A series of his tweets dated September 8, 2012 sought to justify the Pakistani nuclear program. He noted in his tweets that Pakistani leader Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had the foresight to see the emerging nuclear challenge from India, stating: "After fall of Dhaka [in the 1971 war leading to the creation of Bangladesh] India was working on nuclear bomb; Bhutto could foresee the coming challenges and he started thinking of a nuclear state [of Pakistan];" "You see no major war by India after attaining nuclear bomb [in 1998]; so it is evident that Pakistan is much safer than non-nuclear Pakistan." To mark Pakistan's Defense Day, he noted in a tweet dated September 6, 2012: "Praise be to Allah I am sure … that by virtue of our nuclear program we don't suffer external threats, only minor internal ones."
In tweets dated August 22, 2012, he observed: "After 1971, India became a tiger and tried to wage wars in 1987 and 1999…"; "After our nuclear explosions [in 1998], India never even dared to look at Pakistan with dirty eyes…."; "Today Pakistan stands tall and looks into the world eye to eye [i.e. confrontationally – in South Asian English]! No matter how much problems we suffer, we're alive and filled with pride"; "Our nuclear program helped to establish equilibrium in this region [of South Asia], causing peace and stability with no chance of war in near or far future"; "Why did not India again wage a war against Pakistan after Mumbai [terror] attacks in 2008…"; "Reason being this time India knew Pakistan can pay them back in the same coin!"
On December 26, 2012, Khan retweeted a post in his honor by the Shi'ite group Jaferia News Network – @JNNsms – that noted in Urdu: "No Muslim can make an atomic bomb unless he enjoys the patronage of Muhammad and his family members."
Apparently endorsing a likely North Korean nuclear design against America, he tweeted two days earlier that Pyongyang "may have nuclear missile technology that could hit the U.S. West Coast" – which was linked to a news report by the British newspaper Daily Mail. On September 27, 2012, he praised Pakistani military leader Ziaul Haq saying he "was a dictator but he was a patriotic ruler" and in another tweet the same day stressed the strength of the nuclear-capable state of Pakistan with regard to its foreign policy relations with the West: "[With Pakistan] even having nuclear capability, it is wrong perception that we cannot take action against the United States, England or France." On September 12, 2012, his tweet stated: "It's high time America explains to the world the big question mark [regarding nuclear security] now raised on its own nuclear program…."
In a tweet dated November 10, 2012, he noted the United Nations declaration of Malala Day, after liberal Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, who was shot and wounded by Taliban militants in Pakistan. But he used the occasion to demand that the UN announce such a day for the victims of U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan, noting: "I hope UN will one day announce drone attack victims day too…" Earlier, in an October 12, 2012 tweet, three days after the Taliban attack on Malala, he noted: "We must also raise our voice for thousands of our daughters who're becoming orphans because of drone attacks…" On the same day, he condemned the Pakistani Taliban for "degrading Islam."
But a few weeks earlier, in a tweet on September 27, 2012, he suggested that Pakistan's Hamza series of missiles could be given to the Pakistani Taliban without Pakistani army involvement in order to target the U.S. drones, stating: "By even giving Hamza missile to our brothers [i.e. the Taliban] in FATA [federally administered tribal areas of Pakistan], we can destroy drones in Pakistan without army assistance." On September 22, 2012, his tweets stressed that following the paths shown by the Koran and Sunnah (deeds and sayings of Prophet Muhammad) is the best way to hurt the West, stating: "The act of Muslims that hurts the West the most is the following [of] Koran and Sunnah. We must follow them to give them an answer"; "One who is a servant of the prophet, he is our leader…" On August 29, 2012, he tweeted: "Pakistan has the technology to destroy American drones! If our government used it rightly, America would have never dared to kill our innocent people."
In numerous tweets, he has expressed love for Prophet Muhammad, an issue of emotional religious significance in Pakistani society conflicted over liberal demands to reform the country's controversial blasphemy laws, stating in a September 17, 2012 post: "Nothing more precious than the love of our prophet…" Commenting about an anti-Islam movie on YouTube that enraged Muslim sensibilities worldwide, Khan posted several tweets on September 17, 2012, noting the following: "[The] government of Pakistan should block NATO supply too until the blasphemous material is removed from internet by these Western search engines"; "I am certainly in favor of permanent ban on YouTube if they are not willing to remove the disgraceful material from their site…" On the same day, his tweet greeted the entire team of Pakistan's Babur cruise missile Hatf-VII.
In tweets on September 19, 2012 about the controversy over the anti-Islam movie on YouTube, Khan said: "Western nations are trying to test our patience by going into blasphemy beginning from statements, cartoons to directly hitting us"; "Behind these blasphemous acts are Western states which are using these individuals as their state tools. #America." The controversial anti-Islam film, Innocence of Muslims, was made by Mark Basseley, an Egyptian-born U.S.-based Christian, but Khan dubbed it as a Jewish film released to attack Islam. In a tweet on September 17, 2012, he urged Pakistan and Muslims around the globe to boycott YouTube on September 20-22, 2012 "to record protest against Jewish film about Islam." A day earlier, his tweet noted: "All Muslim countries should strive for an international blasphemy law which will include all faiths and religions. It’s the only way forward."
Although his tweets are generally about Pakistan, Khan sees an Islamic – rather than secular democratic – future for Pakistan and believes in global Islamism. In a tweet dated September 13, 2012, he urged Muslim nations not to destabilize other Muslim countries such as Syria, stating: "Muslim countries shouldn't try to destabilize other Muslim countries by supporting Western propaganda #Syria #FakeRevolution." On August 22, 2012, he tweeted: "If we didn't initiate our nuclear program, Pakistan would have been no different than Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya or Syria today!"
In a tweet dated September 9, 2012 he rejected the idea that Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah advocated a secular future for Pakistan, noting: "If… [his] dream was a secular Pakistan, he'd have never supported the idea of formation of a separate nation for Muslims." On the same day, his tweet stressed that he cannot be dubbed a nuclear proliferator because he did not do so for money, stating: "Nuclear proliferation is a baseless allegation and if it was true then my priority would have been money making. But where is the money?"
On September 9, 2012, Khan posted several tweets, revealing his ideological standpoint regarding the West. In two of the tweets, he stated: "Einstein has been regard[ed] as father of science and physics for supporting America destroying the world"; "Was Einstein not a nuclear proliferator when he handed over all German nuclear research and centrifuge processing to America?" On the same day, he tweeted: "Only reason Western world finds our nuclear program a threat is they can't figure out how did we succeed in beating them in technology!"
In some tweets, he has blamed the West for calling Pakistan's nuclear bomb an "Islamic bomb." However, in tweets dated August 23, 2012, he stated: "I have no problem if they call it an Islamic bomb. We admit it's an Islamic bomb and just like Islam (which means peace) it'll maintain peace"; "The Western world is united in Muslim-bashing and ridiculing Islam and its golden values." On August 24, 2012, his tweets noted: "The Americans themselves sold us all kinds of computers for use in Kahuta [nuclear laboratory] as well as electronic components and other nuclear-specific things"; "The Afghan war [of the 1980s] was a blessing for our nuclear program since Western countries were too scared with the Russian invasion of Afghanistan [and needed Pakistani assistance]."
Writing about the current state of the Pakistani nuclear program, Khan tweeted on August 21, 2012: "Pakistan's nuclear program is far advanced than any other nation even when we're competing any highly developed nation"; "Atom bomb wasn't called Pakistan bomb; it was named Islamic bomb as it has showed the world we can still do better than what you do"; "Our nation has never learnt to live under fear; we're brave people and we'll stay strong no matter, how much you'll try to suppress us!" A tweet dated August 22, 2012 noted: "Today we've surpassed even America (founders of nuclear warfare) in terms of nuclear advancement…."
When he began tweeting on August 6, 2012, Khan talked about the security of Pakistani nuclear weapons, stating: "Truth is our warheads can't get destroyed by any missile once they've been launched! They're not projectiles"; "We've almost 95% uranium enrichment and almost 80 to 90% fission during the nuclear bomb blasts! Unachievable for others"; "In America's nuclear bomb only 60% fission is possible and in India only 40 to 50%. Pakistan is far advanced." Khan sees himself as interested in application of technologies. In a September 1, 2012 tweet, he stated: "As a scientist I have always been interested in all important, applied scientific disciplines."
Tufail Ahmad is Director of MEMRI's South Asia Studies Project (www.memri.org/sasp)
 The original English of all tweets used in this dispatch has been mildly edited for clarity and standardization.
 Twitter.com/DrAQ_Khan, accessed February 11, 2013. The authenticity of the account is verified by a January 4, 2013 tweet that links to the "official website" of Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan's Tehreek-e-Tahafuz Pakistan party, Tehreek.pk. In a tweet dated October 18, 2012, Khan noted that his tweets are sometimes written by himself, but "mostly" by his secretary.
 The News (Pakistan), November 12, 2012.
 For the full text of his apology, see http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/feb/05/pakistan, February 5, 2004.
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