Answering the Malicious Propaganda
May 28, 1998, is the most important and a highly momentous day in Pakistan’s history. On this auspicious afternoon at 1516 hours, Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, ordered Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) team to perform the nuclear tests, codename Chagai-I. The tests were performed at the iron-steel tunnel built under the Koh Kambaran Mountain, in Chagai’s Ras Koh Hills. The snowy dust and the mountain raised above after the chain reaction built by the devices. This explosion marked that Pakistan has crossed the nuclear threshold and is now the world’s 7th nuclear power and the first nuclear weapons state in the Islamic World. Since then May 28 is celebrated as a national day that made Pakistan a member of an exclusive club of less Nuclear States.
It is as clear as day that Pakistan conducted nuclear tests in 1998 only in response to India’s aggressive attitude that the Indians had adopted since the conduct of their nuclear tests on May 11th and 13th. In a fit of euphoria, India disdainfully had assumed that the balance of power in Asia has shifted in its favour. Ignoring the fact that Pakistan also did possess the nuclear bomb, Indians started to take a jingoistic line and their saber-rattling was on the rise. During the 17 days that followed the Indian tests, there was a flurry of efforts by international community, especially the US President Bill Clinton, to deter Pakistan from conducting the nuclear tests. The government was offered incentives and was also intimidated. The incentive package comprised the repeal of the Pressler Amendment and releasing $600 million dollars worth of F-16 fighter-bombers that Pakistan had ordered and paid for but never received; additionally, financial assistance was offered. The threats encompassed the imposition of a total embargo like that imposed on India, but it was envisaged that Pakistan, with a more fragile economy would not be able to sustain the sanctions.
However, the country’s leadership rose to the challenge and living up to the heightened public expectations, it decided to go on with the nuclear tests. Our leadership at that time, despite the US cajolery, remained steadfast in conducting the tests. In the afternoon of May 28th, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mian Nawaz Sharif, appeared on the national TV to announce:
“Today, we have settled a score and have carried out 5 successful nuclear tests.”
From that date to the present day, Pakistan’s enemies have been incessantly working to malign Pakistan’s nuclear capability. An unrelenting media campaign has since been launched to portray Pakistan as a country that cannot safeguard its nukes. Using the “Khan Network” as a millstone around Pakistan’s neck, pressure has been applied whenever the need arose to blackmail Pakistan into submission and action. But, this malicious propaganda is totally baseless, to say the least.
Pakistan’s Nuclear Command Authority through its Strategic Plans Division, undertakes measures for the safety and security of strategic assets including: development of a strategic C4I2SR; watches and regulates the movement of its scientific manpower through Personnel Reliability and Human Reliability Programs; weekly, monthly and quarterly intelligence reports; sensitive material control and accounting; transportation security and specialist vehicles; two-man rule, codes and Permissive Action Links (PALs). This infrastructure rules out any doubts regarding the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.
We have made the bomb and we know how to protect it!