Pakistan seems to be in two minds about Agha Waqar Ahmad’s water-fuelled cars.

A‘water kit’ to run vehicles has become the subject of animated discussion in Pakistan in what is otherwise the traditionally slow season of Ramzan. Agha Waqar Ahmad has claimed that his kit can separate hydrogen from water and supply it to the engine. With the kit, as the claim goes, a litre of water can take a 1,000 cc vehicle 40 km and get a one KV generator to produce electricity for two hours!

Television talk show hosts, politicians and even scientists, including controversial nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, have all bought into the claims of the polytechnic institute graduate that he has developed an answer to the country’s energy woes. In fact, some anchorpersons have gone to the extent of demanding security cover for the ‘inventor’ against the powerful oil industry that, according to them, stands threatened by this Pakistani invention.

 Though there are sane voices who have tried to inject some rationale and disbelief into the discourse that has taken on hyper-nationalistic overtones, the ‘ ghairat brigade’ (honour brigade) is out in full force hogging the narrative. Given the drumbeats by the anchorpersons, the eternally-unsure-of-public-opinion politicians of all hues have also jumped onto the bandwagon.

 Evidently upset with the unquestioning acceptance of Agha Waqar Ahmad’s claims, a Physics professor has now challenged him to run a vehicle on his water kit and offered to pay Rs. 5 million if he succeeds.

ANITA JOSHUA