Pakistan celebrated the 24th anniversary of the nuclear tests, which were conducted in the Chagai district of Balochistan on May 28, 1998, on Saturday.
“Today the nation observes the twenty-fourth anniversary of Pakistan’s nuclear tests conducted in 1998 in response to testing of nuclear weapons by India. The tests not only demonstrated the resolve of the Pakistani nation to safeguard Pakistan’s territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty, but also the desire to preserve strategic balance in South Asia,” read the Foreign Office statement issued on Saturday.
The government has announced the 10-day celebrations in this regard whereas this year, the theme of the day, which is commonly known as Youm-e-Takbeer, would be ‘Na Jhuky Thay Na Jhuken Gay (We never bowed nor will bend our heads down)’.
The information ministry has also released a national song, aimed at highlighting the importance of the day.
Pakistan is committed to the promotion of an environment of peace in South Asia while preserving its capability to ward off aggression or adventurism in any form, it read.
“Pakistan looks forward to further expanding its international collaborations in the peaceful uses of nuclear technology and sharing its expertise with other countries including in nuclear regulatory matters,” the FO said.
Detonation of nuclear devices on May 28, 1998, was a culmination of a journey taken on by the then prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to make the nation’s defence strong against the arch-rival India.
The programme was started though with limited resources but the country managed to conduct six tests and became a nuclear power.
“It was the will and determination of our nation and the leadership that removed all hurdles on way to achieving this milestone. There was also a hidden force behind this achievement and a great hero of the nation Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan who with his unflinching resolve and commitment fought out all threats to the nation and his own life,” wrote the Associated Press of Pakistan in its article.
The nuclear test Smiling Buddha by India in 1974; rang alarm bells across Pakistan as the arch-rival was going to take the much dominating status in the region.
This journey culminated in 1984 when Dr Khan wrote a letter to the then-president Ziaul Haq 1984 that his team had prepared the atom bomb and could conduct the explosion on a week’s notice.
“This desire of Dr Qadeer and his team was fulfilled in 1998 when Pakistan gave a matching response to India’s second time aggressive design by detonating a nuclear device. The decision of testing nuclear device was critical but it was befittingly handled by the then civil and military leadership,” it read.