Why Abdus Salam, Pakistan's great physicist, has been written out of history by his own country
Rob Crilly in his Telegraph blog
Professor Abdus Salam was one of Pakistan's finest minds. His work in the field of theoretical physics, on unifying the electromagnetic and weak forces, earned him the country's first – and only – Nobel prize for physics in 1979. He died in 1996 but his name has resurfaced in recent weeks, a reminder of his work in characterising the then hypothetical Higgs boson in the 1960s.
In any other country his incredible achievements would be celebrated. In Pakistan, however, his memory is shunned. His gravestone has been altered so that he is no longer described as a Muslim and his house, bought by the government, stands unmaintained and forgotten.
The reason is that Professor Salam was a member of the minority Ahmadi sect, a group persecuted by successive governments and condemned as heretics by even mainstream Muslims. In 1974, Benazir Bhutto's father, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, passed a law declaring Ahmadis to be non-Muslims. Later laws prevented Ahmadis from describing their places of worship as "mosques". The persecution continues. In June, police arrived at an Ahmadi mosque in the town of Kharian in Punjab province and tore down its minarets.
So this summer as scientists closed in on the Higgs boson and while India expressed pride in the role of Satyendra Nath Bose, a physicist who gave part of his name to the elusive particle, Pakistan failed to mark their man's contribution.
Now, compare Professor Salam's treatment with that of Engineer Waqar Ahmad, who claims to have solved the world's energy problems with a water-powered car. His miracle car has been trumpeted by newspapers and driven by one of the country's top TV talkshow hosts. . . Now, compare Professor Salam's treatment with that of Engineer Waqar Ahmad, who claims to have solved the world's energy problems with a water-powered car. His miracle car has been trumpeted by newspapers and driven by one of the country's top TV talkshow hosts.
The water cannot act as fuel. Anyone with even the vaguest understanding of physics or chemistry should understand that. No matter. Pakistan's Minister of Religious Affairs, Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah, has driven the car and pledged government support.
Posted on 08/01/2012 3:25 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax