It was a proud day for the people of Pakistan on May 28, 1998, the day the Chagi mountains of Balochistan witnessed the birth of Pakistan as a nuclear power. The explosion was testimony of the talent and years of hard work by Pakistani scientists and engineers, despite seemingly insurmountable hurdles. No small feat, given that neighbouring India had received foreign help in one form or the other or, at least, was never subjected to the kind of harsh sanctions that Pakistan had been. The atomic test, the credit for while begins from Prime Minister ZA Bhutto and ends at then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Nawaz Sharif despite US and international pressure, brought to an end the agonising wait stretching to 17 days, after the Indians had set off a nuclear device on May 11. At the same time, it silenced the threats from across the eastern border against Pakistan. With it came crashing down the myth of the 'peaceful' explosion the Indians had tried to create about their 1974 Pokhran explosion.
Intense international pressure against the detonation was injustices, given how much the balance of power would have been skewed in favour of the Indians if in addition to their size and economic power, they had been the only nuclear armed state in South Asia. A large force had amassed on the Indian side of the border, following a fake charge involving Pakistani involvement in the Sabha attack. For its defiance of international pressure, however, Islamabad became a global pariah and was made to bear the burden of stricter sanctions. Not so with New Delhi, which though severely criticised for carrying out the test was tacitly regarded as a suitable candidate for acquiring the nuclear status. The Indo-US agreement politely termed 'civilian nuclear deal' will go to strengthen India’s nuclear fighting arm as well. Washington continues to scoff at offering such a deal to Pakistan. The Indian nuclear story also exposes the hoax of non-proliferation to non NPT signatories.
The double standard when dealing with a nuclear armed Pakistan versus a nuclear armed India is a glaring one. Several first world countries have reconsidered selling India nuclear fuels. The hypocrisy of continuing to feed one country's appetite, while denying nations like Iran the right to develop nuclear technology for civilian uses is unpalatable. Nuclear energy and technology is a reality and its pervasiveness in the world must be closely monitored, but on the same rules for all.