Pakistan became a nuclear power with the blessings of Allah in May 1998. We have maintained the nuclear deterrence since by showing great restraints despite a number of provocations by hostile countries who just cannot swallow the fact of a Muslim country being a nuclear power. Whether or not the Western powers recognize Pakistan as a member of the exclusive nuclear club matters very little. But it is the responsibility of our leaders at the top, President and Prime Minister, to take a clear stance on our right to be accepted and recognized as a member of the Nuclear Powers Club. So far, response of the principal world power, the US, has been rather lukewarm to such a proposal. Perhaps, rather than keep making this request, Pakistan should now concentrate on strengthening the security of our nuclear assets and safeguard the batch of precious human resource that developed this priceless asset. Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan and other distinguished scientists of his ilk, irrespective of the fact that they have retired and no longer actively associated with our nuclear programme, deserve the best of security. Their valuable contribution in turning Pakistan into a nuclear power against all odds has to be taken into consideration when making a decision about their actions. No doubt, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan was involved in nuclear proliferation and had made a public confession of it but it is our duty to protect him from the hostile elements that are baying for his blood. The rulers in Islamabad should be wise enough not to rely on reassurances of Washington which is the most treacherous of allies to have in the world. They should not believe America when it feigns of not having any interest in Pakistans nukes. A miscalculation on the matter would be against Pakistans national security and sovereignty. How much of a friend Washington has been is obvious from a fistful dollars it has offered us as a compensation for the colossal losses we have suffered in Americas so-called War on Terror. -KHALID. I. KHAN, Lahore, May 18.