Jeffrey LewisBhutto Interview with VOA

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto (right) has told Voice of America that Pakistan held the components for a nuclear device during her tenure, but chose not to assemble them until the May 1998 nuclear tests.

When I became Prime Minister I was told we had not put together the bomb. We had the components of the bomb.

So, when is a chicken a chicken? Is it a chicken when you have it in separate parts but you don’t put it together? Or is it a chicken when you actually put it together?

And although we had the components of a nuclear weapon, we took the conscious decision not to put together a nuclear weapon, which is why when India detonated it took us some time to put together the weapon and actually have our own tests.

Just ignore the clumsy chicken metaphor.

Arms Control Wonk has previously complained about the paucity of scholarship relating to what Mohamed ElBaradei has called “latent” nuclear weapons states.

Bhutto also claimed that her father, former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, told her that preparations for a nuclear test had been made in August 1977, before being indefinitely delayed.

On a related note, Bhutto should sue someone over that VOA photograph. Here is a more flattering photo provided by Harvard (left).

And another thing … Scroll down that Harvard alumni page. You’ve got Leonard Bernstein, Benazir Bhutto, Ben Bradlee all looking like future leaders in the arts and politics … and then there is George W. Bush, who looks like a future back-up guitarist for Three Dog Night.


  1. Michael Roston (History)

    Tutut, the ambitious daughter of former Indonesian president Suharto, begins exploring the possibility of taking power late in her father’s reign. Knowing that Benazir Bhutto is the only woman in the Islamic world to have ruled a country, she gives her a courtesy call for some words of wisdom.

    “Benazir,” Tutut asks. “How can I make the people of Indonesia respect me as their leader?”

    Bhutto responds “In Islamic countries, it’s important to always cover your head.”

    Tutut begins covering her head, but the people of Indonesia still don’t take her seriously as their leader. She gives Bhutto another call.

    “Islamic countries will only support a woman if they think she upholds the value of family. So always appear in public alongside your husband.”

    Tutut drags her husband everywhere, but Indonesians still don’t see her as leadership material.

    “Benazir, I’ve tried everything you’ve suggested,” Tutut complained. “Still, they don’t respect me as a leader.”

    “You’re ready for the next step Tutut,” Bhutto explains. “Now you just have to wait until they hang your father.”

  2. phonkee (History)

    It worked for Megawati Sokarnoputri.

  3. vijay dandapani (History)

    nice story – just a small correction – Bangladesh, another Islamic country, has had two women Prime Ministers – Sheikh Hasina and Begum Khaleeda Zia. Hasina fits the father murdered paradigm though.

  4. PKerr (History)

    Stop insulting Three Dog Night