Our technological achievements of May 28,1998 were the direct result of dynamic political and scientific leadership, goal-oriented cohesive technological enterprise, continuity of the programme with political consensus and the creativity and perseverance of our scientists and engineers.
Pakistani scientists and engineers had to cross yet another barrier-this time of physical and psychological endurance. Once the paraphernalia was transported to the site at Chaghi in Baluchistan, they got hammered by withering summer heat and extremely adverse working conditions.
The tensions kept on mounting further due to the knowledge that their moves were being watched in obsessive detail through a number of satellites. All these factors put them under tremendous pressure. The feat was, nonetheless accomplished exactly at 3:16 pm (Pakistan Standard Time) on May 28, 1998. Seismographs around the world recorded Pakistan’s successful nuclear tests and provided irrefutable confirmation of Pakistan’s status as the seventh nuclear weapon state of the world.
The nuclear tests of Pakistan have helped to invigorate the national physche and promote confidence, self-assurance and faith in the future. On a broader level, one year after the momentous event, the nuclear tests have been extremely beneficial from a number of standpoint.
First, Pakistan has convincingly proven wrong the prophets of doom and gloom who were keenly predicting a doomsday scenario. Pakistan has attained the status of a nuclear power- and yet surmounted the sanctions, even managed to retrieve money held up for a decade on account of payment for the F-i 6 planes.
Second, there is a new role and a new strategic significance for Pakistan’s position in the comity of nations, which has a voice on issues ranging from Kashmir to Kosovo. The hectic diplomacy of Pakistan in the last one-year is testimony to this new found position of respect and importance in the international community.
Third, Pakistan’s nuclear capability is a tribute to the principle of self-reliance, since Pakistan scientists and engineers achieved this indigenously acquired capability through persistence and faith in their capacity to deliver and lived up to the expectations of the people of Pakistan.
May 28, Pakistan’s finest hour, is also a tribute to the excellence attained in the field of since and technology by Pakistan in a short span of time and the country resolutely resisted pressures, threats and coercion from various quarters in the last 25 years to achieve this cherished goal of all Pakistanis.
Fourth, Pakistan has now achieved a position of parity and equality on the military and politically plane vis-a-vis India after the nuclear tests and this is reflected in the new balance that is a plus for peace, stability in South Asia.
Pakistan’s nuclear tests thwarted the threat to regional peace that existed when one neighbour was militarily and politically preponderant and there was an imbalance which could have been exploited by the stronger side to brow-beat and bully the smaller side. Subsequent events in South Asia have confirmed this fundamental reality. And the new balance of power between India and Pakistan is now not only a fact of life in South but also the basis of a new relationship between the two.
Finally, Pakistan’s nuclear tests have helped to internationalize the long standing dispute of Jammu and Kashmir, confirming that Kashmir is a nuclear flash-point and the Issue needs to be resolved peacefully in accordance with the United Nations resolutions seeking self-determination for the people of Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
The popular, spontaneous indigenous and widespread uprising of the Kashmir people has received tremendous morale booster from the Pakistani nuclear tests and the Kashmir issue has been provided with center stage status.
Among the most significant results of the nuclear tests by Pakistan, and herein lies the real significance of May 28,is that every Pakistani man, woman and child can now sleep more securely with unflinching conviction that our indigenous deterrence can deter all potential aggressors and the country’s national security, sovereignty and state sovereignty rests on a bed-rock of a strong defence capability.
The Pakistani peoples quest for a better tomorrow can now receive much needed encouragement and support since only through a strong defence and rapid deployment can Pakistan move forward into the comity of nations in the 21st century with dignity and honour.
Pakistan’s successful nuclear programme is a symbol of nation’s unity and strength. May 28 will always be celebrated as a day of national honour, dignity and self reliance.
To commemorate the occasion Pakistan Post Office is issuing a stamp of Rs 5 denomination on May, 28, 1999.