Published On: Thu, May 31st, 2018

May 28: Pakistan Became Declared Nuclear Power

By Sajjad Shaukat

While showing aggressive designs, on May 11, 1998, the then Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee surprised the international community by announcing that India has conducted three nuclear tests earlier that day. On May 13, 1998, India conducted two more nuclear tests. In order to create balance of power in South Asia, Pakistan successfully conducted five nuclear tests on May 28, 1998. Therefore, with national zeal and fervour in different parts of the country, Youm-e-Takbeer (The day of greatness) is celebrated every year on May 28 as a national day to mark the conduction of nuclear tests when on the very day in 1998; Pakistan became the first Muslim and the 7th nuclear power in the world. However, both the neighboring countries have waged three wars, especially on the issue of the Indian occupied Kashmir, so Pakistan’s arch rival compelled Islamabad to follow the suit. In this regard, it took only 17 days for Pakistan to successfully carry out its five nuclear tests which were done on May 28 and the sixth one on May 1998, at Chaghi in Balochistan in response to five nuclear explosions detonated by India, threatening the security of Pakistan. For the purpose, about five thousands scientists including Dr Samarmand Mubarik and especially Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan had worked day and night and made the defence of the country impregnable.

As regards Pakistan’s atomic experiments, renowned journalist, Majid Nizami said, “Pakistan faced tremendous pressure from India after it detonated five nuclear devices and America in this scenario also did not want Pakistan to become a nuclear power. US President Clinton telephoned the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif five times besides offering him billions of dollars to refrain him from nuclear tests. In this perspective, he further stated, Nawaz was receiving opinion from different sections of society, and in the same connection, he also convened a meeting of the editors wherein he (Majid Nizami) also gave the input. New Delhi’s war-mongering strategy against Pakistan could be judged from the fact that in 1974 India conducted first nuclear test at Pokhran Range in Rajhistan so as to pressurize Islamabad. It is mentionable that when ZulfikarAli Bhutto, (The late) came to power, he paid much attention to the nuclear programme of Pakistan, as he knew that India would apply its coercive diplomacy on Islamabad or could attack our country. In this context, while talking on a TV channel on May 28, 2012, Pakistani nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan appreciated the efforts of former Prime Minister Shaheed ZulfikarAli Bhutto for providing the opportunity to make the nuclear programme of Pakistan successful.

He also made it clear that Pakistan’s nuclear programme was totally indigenous, but acquired materials from some Western countries. During many crises such as Kargil issue of 1999 and attack on the Indian parliament by the militants in 2001, New Delhi concentrated its troops across the Pakistan’s border, with the intention to attack Pakistan, while raising a series of false allegations against Islamabad. Pakistan was also compelled to deploy its Army along the Pak-India border. But, India did not dare to initiate a war because of Pakistan’s ‘Nukes.’ Similarly, in the past, Indian rulers had intended to implement their doctrine of limited war in Kashmir, but they could not do so owing to our nuclear weapons.

Particularly, in the aftermath of Mumbai terror attacks of 2008, India accused Pakistan’s spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of supporting the militants. Although Pak diplomats denied Indian self-fabricated story regarding Mumbai catastrophe, but New Delhi adopted a threatening posture against Islamabad. It once again deployed its troops across the Pakistani border. Again, Islamabad also concentrated its military in order to give a matching response to India. Notably, when US special forces killed Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan on May 2, 2011 in violation of Pak sovereignty—though Islamabad had repeatedly made it clear that its government and intelligence agencies did not know anything about Bin Laden’s whereabouts including any official involvement regarding the 26/11 Mumbai catastrophe, but, New Delhi continued its aggressive style which could be judged from the statement of Indian Army Chief Gen. VK Singh who claimed on May 4, 2011 that if situation arose, the Indian defence forces were competent to undertake a US-like operation inside Pakistan, which killed Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden. Indian army’s Northern Command chief also expressed similar thought.

Evedently it is due to atomic bombs that Islamabad can talk to New Delhi with honour and dignity, discouraging India from casting an evil eye on our motherland. Furthermore, as Pakistan is the only declared nuclear country in the Islamic World, hence, it has become special target of some western top officials and media persons who continue their propaganda against Pakistan’s nuclear programme. They have especially hired the services of media anchors and writers who work on their payroll and have been creating doubts about the safety and security of Pakistan’s atomic weapons and nuclear plants. Particularly, in 2009 when the heavily-armed Taliban entered Swat, Dir and Buner, US high officials and their media had exaggerated the ‘Talibinisation’ of whole Pakistan, while showing concerns about Pakistan’s atomic arms. In that regard, the then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had warned that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists. But, when Pakistan’s armed forces ejected the Taliban insurgents out of these areas by breaking their backbone, she started appreciating the capabilities of Pakistan Armed Forces.

Similarly, when terrorists had attacked on Pakistan’s Naval Airbase in Karachi on May 23, 2011, US-led some western countries including India and Israel exploited the situation through disinformation about the security of Pak nukes. And, terrorists’ assault on Kamra Base was successfully foiled by the personnel of Pakistan Air Force, but, a baseless report, published in the New York Times had indicated that suspected militants attacked a major Pakistani Air Force base where some of the country’s nuclear weapons were considered to be stored in the early hours of the militants’ attack. The ex-US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta also stated day, “There is a danger of nuclear weapons of Pakistan, falling into hands of terrorists.” Undoubtedly, Pakistan’s nuclear assets are in safe hands-well-protected and are under tight security arrangements, having the best command and control system. Nonetheless, May 28 is celebrated as Youm-e-Takbeer by various political parties and social organizations including general masses with a pledge to make Pakistan a stronger country, militarily and economically, among the comity of nations. No doubt, on this very day of May 1998, Pakistan became declared nuclear power.

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