ISLAMABAD (APP): Pakistan marks May 28 (Sunday) as a thanksgiving day being 19th anniversary of the momentous event when the nation achieved nuclear capability on this day in 1998 and became 7th power of the world thwarting all inimical designs of enemies. The onus for nuclearization in South Asia squarely lies with India, which first boastfully carried out nuclear explosions earlier in 1998 leaving no option for Pakistan but to give a befitting response by conducting a series of seven consecutive blasts in the Chaghi mountain of Balochistan province on the historic day. With the recitation of Allah-ho-Akbar (Allah is the Great) on the day known as Youm-i-Takbeer, a huge bang was heard and the world witnessed that the giant mountain shook with changing colour, besides release of mammoth amount of energy in the shape of thick clouds whereby elevating Pakistan to nuclear omnipotence.
The credit goes to the nation’s leadership at that critical time. The then Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif stood his ground firmly in the face of international pressure and lucrative offers of aid if he would abandon the plan to reply to the Indian nuclear challenge. Down the line, analysts and lawmakers point out, the country has been able to stand up to threats and aggressive postures of the hostile neighbour … thanks to the bold decision the then prime minister had taken at that critical juncture. Chairman of the Senate’s Standing Committee on Defence Production Lt Gen (R) Abdul Qayyum said Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif had made the country’s defence invincible by giving a go-ahead signal for conducting successful nuclear tests 19 years back. “It is the nuclear capability that prevents the enemy even to think of casting an evil eye on the world’s first Islamic atomic power,” he told APP while commenting on the anniversary of Youm-e-Takbeer. He said Pakistan always opposed arms race in South Asia, but it was India, which not only indulged in acquiring weapons but also conducted nuclear explosions first, leaving no option for the former to give a befitting response. General Qayyum said India’s aggression in 1965 and 1971 got a befitting response, but, now, Pakistan was a proven nuclear state and no one could even think of any hostility against it. Because of Pakistan’s atomic capability India was just hurling hollow threats. He said Pakistan believed in maintaining minimum credible deterrence to ensure national security.
However, its nuclear programme was in safe hands and being guarded as the most essential asset, he added. He said the Armed Forces of Pakistan were fully prepared to give a befitting response to any misadventure by the enemy. He urged the international community to take notice of India’s continued strides of acquiring latest weapons and aggressive postures. Pakistan was always for ensuring peace and stability in the region. Senator Kulsoom Parveen said the atomic capability had not only made the country’s defence unconquerable, but it was also a gift for the whole Muslim Ummah. Member of the National Assembly (MNA) Javed Lateef termed May 28 a ‘history-making day’ for the nation. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would make Pakistan a complete stable economy through his prudent policies like he had ensured its security and integrity by conducting nuclear tests in 1998. PML-N leader and Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Chairman Siddiq-ul-Farooq said the prime minister wanted to see Pakistan as an economic power like he had made it an atomic power. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leadership were fully committed to make the country self-reliant, self-sustainable and prosperous. The PML-N government in a nerve-wreaking situation in 1998, he recalled, did not bow to the Indian threats and went ahead for nuclear explosions despite mounting international pressure and made Pakistan a nuclear power. Now the PML-N government had launched China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which would open new avenues of prosperity as no one could deny the fact that a strong economy was a must for a strong defence, he added. Siddiq-ul-Farooq said Pakistan believed in peace and never interfered in other countries’ internal matters. It has been a normal practice in the country to observe ‘Youm-e-Takbeer’ with solemnity, avoiding any pomp and show as Pakistan believes in nuclear non-proliferation and maintains only minimum essential deterrence against any threat to its security. The Youm-e-Takbeer, which literally means “the day when Allah Almighty’s name was exalted”, will be observed across the country with national zeal and fervour on Sunday to commemorate the historic nuclear tests. Special prayers will be offered for the country’s stability and prosperity, the constitution’s supremacy and eradication of terrorism. Various ceremonies and seminars will be organized in which eminent scientists, intellectuals, defence analysts and notable personalities will pay tribute to the team of nuclear scientists, who had raised Pakistan’s strategic status among the comity of nations and signified the principle of self-reliance. Radio Pakistan and television channels will broadcast special programmes to highlight the significance of the day while print media will publish supplements to acknowledge the importance of the event.