Open letter to Honorable Fawad Chaudhry

Dear Minister for Science and Technology,

Your audacious duel with the Moon Establishment of the country has undoubtedly won you popular applause. Political cross-section heaved a sigh of relief when you successfully unearthed the New Moon according to your colander, ensuring One-Nation-One-Eid, a historically awaited breakthrough.  On the eve of the recent solar eclipse, a tactful warning to your celestial contenders was also seen as a tickling step in the belated journey of the nation towards science and technology. The reiteration of your past achievements like cheap chopper travel is merely a waste of time: a host of such things are inscribed on the otherwise credulous memory of the masses.

Having said all, it is time to move forward. There is no doubt that the Ministry of Science and Technology is on the backbenches. In fact, it has been a neglected field since the inception of this country. One is tempted to think that none other than you can feel the burden of proof to assert your boundless aptitude, both mental and physical (the latter is confirmed by a couple of media men whose insolent cheeks dared hinder the full blast of your right hand moving in a semi-circle). They simply couldn’t see wood for the trees. The nation is sure that in the field of scientific advancement, you want to leave deep footprints before hanging up your boots, if ever.

Pakistan, it is true, is neither Germany nor Japan nor America. It is what it is or should be after overlooking sciences at the expense of progress in the modern world. You can well believe that Pakistanis don’t expect from your Ministry to invent 12th generation processor or 10th series engine of a luxury car or a jet flying with sucking dampness from the clouds where and when available or after successful completion of 5-G, knocking at the door of 6-G indigenously. Nor is anyone looking forward to the discovery of Covid-19 vaccine in our part of the world. No, Pakistanis are not so unrealistic.

But seeing a smart man of rare sagacity and novel foresight like you on the driving seat (though at present of a neglected ministry), the bar of expectation is naturally higher than ever. Looking around, we need to corroborate science to our local needs. I believe that if you allow yourself not to throw a gauntlet every other day to a host of dear Muftis and dedicate your talent to the invention of some gadgets which Pakistanis are in desperate need, the nation will be grateful to you.

I hope you will not laugh at the naivety of the demand that the nation needs milk testing machines on urgent bases. Imported machines for this purpose are available in the market but they are just fat analyzers. But as far as milk sold in Pakistan is concerned, it has far more complex chemistry than the poor machines can take the whiff of. The milk sold in Pakistan looks white, it is true, but that is the only affinity with natural milk somewhere found in the globe. This machine should be cheap for household availability.

At present, swarms of locusts are having a field day in many districts of Pakistan.  They have eaten up everything green. Pakistan is equipped with dreadful arms but they are useless in the fight against these bright winged insects which, though stingless, have stabbed a dagger in our agro-based economy.

The battle cry is to catch them and eat them or to morph them into fertilizer if caught in a bulk. But how to catch them? That is the rub. Here your peerless innovation should come into play. As more swarms are marching this way and they are intended to have a long sit-in, something must be done to thin their density otherwise we will have to save handful blades of grass for future generations to show that once this desert was also green.

If you, with your unending brainwaves, could make a net to harness these mineral-rich insects for consumption, it will be a national service in the present Covid-stricken times. Later the same device could be used to bring untaxed economy to the tax net, much to the satisfaction of our economic wizards.

Pakistan is swarming with exorcists, mystics, spiritualists, wizards, diviners and a host of scholars. One suspects that there may not be as many evil spirits in Pakistan as these saviors are striving to conjure up. I sincerely believe that they are not charlatans as most of them have occupied permanent places on private TV channels, suggesting divine solutions of national problems. Before the advent of cable, they were on evening newspapers or walls.

Their holy efforts should be organized into team work. You are requested to line these mystics in a body, just like Tiger Force to take on seen or unseen challenges faced by this nation too much dependent on China, America or Europe. From the depths of oceans to the boundless space, the field of exploration is open. We have these cards and we need to play them. The nation believes that under your stewardship, the time of self-sustenance has come.

Warm regards,

Hamza Arshad

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