(Staring into the abyss: walking the nuclear tightrope in south Asia)
In an editorial in this week's BMJ Professor Zulfiqar Ahmed Bhutta from the Aga Khan University in Pakistan laments the building of the nuclear arms race in the subcontinent and writes that "...the enormous costs of nuclear weapons must be weighed against the abysmal state of human development and health in south Asia." He notes that the region boasts over half of all the malnourished children in the world and with high infant mortality and a lack of basic facilities for health and education he finds the diversion of scarce economic resources to weapons of mass destruction even more incongruous.
Professor Bhutta suggests that the only way to ensure a nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan never occurs is to educate the population of the true horrors of nuclear conflict and the human costs that such a programme could entail.
The author concludes that it is imperative that international sanctions do not add to the misery of the millions who will bear the brunt of such measures.
Professor Zulfiqar Ahmed Bhutta, Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health, The Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan