The Pakistan Military announced the successful test launch of a long range ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. Although Pakistan’s medium range ballistic missile Ghauri can reach any part of India, the Paksitani defense establishment has always wanted to develop a nuclear capable longer range version to achieve parity with India in the missile race. The new Pakistani missile outscores India’s Agni in all parameters –it has a longer range, can carry a bigger payload, and (gasp) is bigger in size too. “We can now say with heads held high that ours is bigger than India’s. Pakistan’s izzat has been restored” remarked General Kayani, after the missile’s successful test trial off the coast of Baluchistan.
The new missile is believed to be a replica of the Chinese ICBM “Ding-a-ling”. However, Dr. Hasnat Khan, a missile scientist in Pakistan’s Kahuta Research Laboratories refutes this. “The prototype may be of Chinese origin but the external design is completely indigenous. We repainted the missile green and erased those indecipherable Chinese characters that were such an eye sore” he said with pride.
Professor of Strategic Studies at Centre for Policy Research, Dr.Brahma Chellaney, has predicted that “this new acquisition will inject ‘cockiness’ into Indo-Pak ties”. The first sign of this became evident when Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary, Salman Bashir, told his Indian counterpart jocularly during the recently held foreign secretary talks that “Pakistan is now more virile than India”. India’s Foreign Secretary, Nirupam Rao, was taken aback by this ribaldry. “Men can be such… pricks when it comes to gloating about missiles. I chose to ignore the innuendo completely” said the elegant and dignified lady. Prominent India baiter and LeT leader, Hafeez Sayeed, reportedly proclaimed at a public rally in Lahore, “Ab India ko C*** ke rakh denge” in chaste Urdu to a round of applause.
Mani Shankar Aiyer, however, has termed Pakistan’s missile acquisition a positive development. “If Pakistan thinks it has enhanced its manhood with this missile , then India needs to seize this opportunity by making love to her western neighbour and take the relationship to a new level of intimacy” said the erudite ex Panchayati Raj Minister, who has consistently advocated a soft, dovish approach towards Pakistan.
This addition to Pakistan’s missile arsenal might be named the ‘Timuri’ after the Central Asian warlord, Timur Lane, who invaded and plundered the Delhi Sultanate in the 14th century. This is in keeping with standard Pakistani practice of naming its missiles after fierce invaders from Central Asia and Afghanistan who militarily subjugated vast tracts of the sub-continent between the 10th and 18th centuries. “Warlords notable for greater military exploits lend their names to the missiles with longer ranges ” said Dr.Hasnat Khan, throwing light on the Pakistani system for missile nomenclature.
Interestingly, none of these medieval warlords were born in Pakistan. Timur was born in Uzbekistan and is considered a national hero in that country. Uzebekistan’s Foreign Minister has reportedly told the Pakistani Government to not name the new missile after its national hero and rather find someone indigenous to Pakistan. This might be a problem since the region of Pakistan has been mostly ruled by outsiders – Central Asian or Afghan warlords – since the 10th century. A Pakistani liberal suggested that Pakistan could name the missile after Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who was born in present day Pakistan and ushered in a spell of native rule after driving out the alien Afghans in the mid 19th century. However, this idea has understandably been discarded by the Pakistani establishment.