Youm-e-Takbir: A Day to Remember

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slamabad’s decision to test nuclear weapons, was in order to achieve; the nuclear deterrence capability needed against the adversaries and confidence to be recognized as a major power in the international political system. Historically, the nuclear equation in South Asia was formed when the Canadian nuclear supplies were given for research and development to India, instead were diverted to make the weapons of mass destruction in 1974.

India gave the gesture earlier, that it wants to be reckoned as a major power not only alone in the region but also globally. The civil and military establishment in Pakistan took this Indian act seriously and the Prime Minister at that time, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto decided to employ nuclear experts to develop the weapon “even if the nation had to eat grass”. Till March 1984, Pakistan was able to manage the nuclear weapons program and conducted fewer weapon cold tests.

However, the Indian objective behind the occupation of nuclear weapons capability was to achieve the national interests with the threat of its use. It became clear when the former Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee during his national election campaign on February 25, 1998 declared that with nukes he will "take back that part of Kashmir that is under Pakistan's occupation". The BJP government in May 1998, tested five nuclear weapons among which the second fusion stage of the thermonuclear device was a failure.

The security threat perception touched the zenith in Pakistan and it also became the matter of prestige to give befitting response. After the disintegration in 1971, losing any other territory will be the last thing Pakistan would have wanted. There was immense international pressure and PM Nawaz Sharif revealed that the then U.S. President offered five billion dollar package for Pakistan to not to conduct tests.

Despite, the scores were leveled when Pakistan also conducted five nuclear tests at Chaghi, Balochistan on May 28, 1998 and one miniaturized fission device on 30 May 1998. Pakistan celebrates this day in a deserving way as when needed all said the Takbir and did what was necessary. Good thing to appreciate is Pakistan has come a long way and has shown responsibility as nuclear weapons states.

The rationale of developing nuclear weapons was that Pakistan must have self-reliance to ensure its security against Indian military expansion. One of the lessons from the debacle of 1971 is that no country of great power was going to support Pakistan in a time of crisis against any Indian aggression. Therefore, self-reliance was the crucial idea of Pakistan’s policymakers to make sure that only Pakistan should be responsible for defending itself against any Indian offensive. We must understand that being a nuclear power is crucial for our survival and sovereignty.

The possession of nuclear weapons serves not only military and political but also economic benefits. We have to not forget that Pakistan’s nuclear establishment is also progressive in the peaceful use of nuclear technology, especially in the energy sector. The 100 nuclear units in the US are generating substantial domestic economic value in electricity sales and revenue by up to $ 40-$ 50 billion each year. Canada’s nuclear energy industry has revenues of about $ 6.6 billion. Pakistan can also achieve the same feat by the extent of civilian benefits from nuclear weapons spending.

Besides, the recent Indian strategic interests are justifying the need of keeping nuclear weapons program. Like, India has interests in becoming global power as soon as possible and by hook or by crook. It is converging peaceful space program into missiles of war and nuclearizing Indian Ocean. India is expanding its nuclear program by importing and exploiting domestic Uranium mines to fuel both civil and military programs. It is in pursuit of more powerful hydrogen bombs and unprecedented missile development.

The Indo-U.S. nuclear deal has been an undeserved gift to India; besides controversial implications and regardless of concerns of several analysts about the lack of security, and lack of adoption of IAEA safeguards in nuclear plants. This deal has also been instrumental in degradation of peace and stability in the South Asian region and similarly the U.S. is also facilitating India’s bid for Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) membership despite of Chinese opposition.

Pakistan was the only state in South Asia that opposed nuclear weapons and offered various proposals to India. Unfortunately, global community didn’t appreciate the Pakistani efforts to make South Asia nuke free zone. Eventually, when Pakistan's survival was threatened by subsequent Indian nuclear tests, it was compelled to indulge in this deadly arms race. Today the entire nation celebrates Youm-e-Takbir to remember the wonderful achievement by our national heroes that made Pakistan defense impregnable.

Anaya Shahid graduated from Defense & Diplomatic Studies, Fatima Jinnah Women University Rawalpindi

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