YAUM-e-Takbeer, being observed today, is a reminder to the existential threat that Pakistan continues to face at the hands of an unscrupulous enemy and the contribution made by our scientists, engineers and technicians to make defence of the motherland impregnable.
The day is, no doubt, an occasion of national pride as it is observed to commemorate historic Chaghai blasts that made Pakistan a nuclear weapon state, first Islamic country to have achieved this status, which was previously considered to be the exclusive domain of some powers.
The successful culmination of Pakistan’s nuclear programme sent a loud and clear message to the world that knowledge and technology were not the sole prerogative of a few countries.
We, in the Pakistan Observer, feel alighted for being part of the glorious history of the nuclear programme as the newspaper and its founding Editor-in-Chief late Zahid Malik were in the forefront of efforts to promote the cause of national defence.
The history bears testimony to the fact that Pakistan behaved responsibly both before and after carrying out its six nuclear tests in May 1998 in response to India’s provocative blasts and threatening posture against Pakistan.
From 1974 (when India conducted its first nuclear test, code-named, ironically, as ‘smiling Budha’) Pakistan offered several proposals to India to make South Asia a nuclear weapons-free zone but New Delhi not only gave cold shouldered response but also carried out more tests at Pokhran in May 1998.
Pokhran-I disturbed the already fragile strategic balance in the region and the then leadership of Pakistan wisely opted to pursue the nuclear option to ward off threats to national security at the hands of an enemy that dismembered Pakistan earlier in 1971.
Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and a team of scientists, engineers and technicians led by legendary nuclear scientists Dr A Q Khan was assigned the task of giving a technological response to India and despite numerous odds and challenges they accomplished their mission of transforming Pakistan into a nuclear power.
In fact, the discriminatory attitude of some influential countries convinced Pakistan that there was no alternative to indigenous research and development as instead of penalizing India for initiating nuclear weapons race in South Asia, fuel supply for Pakistan’s KANUPP was unilaterally and unjustifiably stopped despite the fact that it was merely a nuclear power plant.
Some developments of the recent past especially Indian attack inside Pakistani territory prove that the threat to our security is still imminent and it is assuming new and dangerous dimensions as some members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) are offering unrestrained cooperation to sharpen nuclear teeth of India and New Delhi, as before, is not responding to saner Pakistani proposals like joint agreement to reduce the threat of nuclear war, bilateral arrangement on non-testing of nuclear weapons and strategic nuclear restraint regime.
In this background, there is national consensus in Pakistan on keeping the nuclear deterrence relevant and a firm ‘NO’ to foreign pressure aimed at limiting the country’s nuclear capability.
There is also a need to properly acknowledge the services of all those who worked selflessly to make Pakistan a proud and responsible nuclear power.