May 28: Pakistan Became 7th Nuclear Power in the World

By Sajjad Shauka

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 the national day to mark the conduction of nuclear tests, as Pakistan became the first Muslim and the 7th nuclear power in the world.

While, both the neighboring countries have waged three wars, especially on the issue of the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), 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. For the purpose, about five thousands scientists including Dr Samarmand Mubarik and particularly 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 Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

Particularly, in the aftermath of false flag 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, Pakistan also concentrated its military in order to give a matching response to India.

It is notable that in the aftermath of the false flag terror of Pulwama, very tension escalated rapidly between India and Pakistan when on February 27, this year, in response to the Indian so-called pre-emptive air strike near the town of Balakot, close to the border with Pakistan’s sector of Kashmir, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) shot down two Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets and launched aerial strikes at six targets in the (IOK). One of the two Indian air force pilots was taken into custody.

Truth about India’s surgical strikes unmasked, when Indian top civil and military leaders failed in providing any evidence in this respect.

Nevertheless, the myth of Indian so-called surgical strike was further exposed, when Director General of Pakistan Army’s media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Maj-Gen. Asif Ghafoor, while referring to the statement of Indian India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who admitted on April 18, 2019 that no Pakistani soldier or citizen died in the air strike carried out by IAF across the border in Balakot, stated on April 19, 2019: “After India finally admitted that their so-called air strike carried on February 26 in Balakot caused no deaths and casualties…Hopefully, so will be about other false Indian claims [such as] surgical strike of 2016, denial of shooting down of two Indian Air Force [IAF] jets by Pakistan Air Force and claims about F16…Better late than never.”

Nonetheless, in the aftermath of Pulwama assault, India left no stone upturned in frightening Pakistan through a prospective invasion, while Islamabad had also taken defensive steps in response to meet any aggression of New Delhi. But, India failed in implementing its plans to wage a conventional war with Pakistan due to the fact that the latter also possesses nuclear arsenal which could destroy.

It is noteworthy that the US dropped atomic bombs on Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as Tokyo had no such devices to retaliate. After the World War 11, nuclear weapons were never used. These were only employed as a strategic threat. During the heightened days of the Cold War, many crises arose in Suez Canal, Korea, Cuba and Vietnam when America and the former Soviet Union were willing to use atomic weapons, but they stopped because of the fear of nuclear war which could culminate in the elimination of both the super powers. It was due to the concept of ‘mutually assured destruction’ that the two rivals preferred to resolve their differences through diplomacy.
Political strategists agree that deterrence is a psychological concept that aims to affect an opponent’s perceptions. In nuclear deterrence weapons are less usable as their threat is enough in deterring an enemy that intends to use its armed might.

While both the neighbouring adversaries are nuclear powers, Indians should not ignore the principles of deterrence, popularly known as balance of terror.In these terms, India is badly mistaken, if it overestimates its own power and underestimates Pakistan’s power. As Islamabad lacks conventional weapons vis-à-vis India, so it will have to use atomic devices during a prolonged conflict which would result into national suicide of India.

Moreover, it is owing to atomic bombs that Pakistan can talk to India 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 been creating doubts about the safety and security of Pakistan’s atomic weapons and nuclear plants. Especially, 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’s armed forces.

Likewise, 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.

However, 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 the 7th nuclear power in the world.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations


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