The 13th anniversary of Yaum-e-Takbir, commemorating Pakistans crossing the nuclear threshold passed uneventfully due to an attack on Bajaur Agency in which eight persons were killed and dozens injured. Numerous national and international events have taken place since 1998, but the detractors of Pakistans nuclear weapons programme have not forgiven Pakistan for committing what they feel, the cardinal sin of going nuclear. As early as 1979, the United States cut off aid to Pakistan under section 669 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (FAA) on the plea that it had broken the taboo of going nuclear and had secretly begun the construction of a uranium enrichment facility. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan changed the circumstances and aid to Pakistan was restored since the US needed it to contain and defeat the Red Army. Throughout the eighties, there were various reports in the international media about blackballing Pakistans nuclear programme. Israel, India and elements in the US joined forces to criticise and target Pakistan. During the same period, the book titled Islamic Bomb and a BBC documentary by the same title was released, citing Pakistans nuclear weapons endeavour. The American administration continued to turn a blind eye due to its strategic need of Pakistan. In 1985, the Pressler Amendment [Section 620E(e) of the Foreign Assistance Act] was approved by the US government, necessitating cut-off of aid to Islamabad unless, the President can certify that Pakistan does not possess nuclear weapons, and that continued US aid would significantly decrease the probability of its developing one in the future. President Reagan and his successor, Bush Sr., continued providing the waiver, but the moment the Russian forces were driven out from Afghanistan, Washington invoked the Pressler Amendment and imposed embargos on Pakistan. In addition, more trouble and further sanctions were fated for it, when Pakistan indulged in the Kargil adventurism. Pakistan became a pariah state, when the military removed the democratically elected Mian Nawaz Sharif from the seat of power and installed General Musharraf. Its status changed overnight with 9/11 and the dictators complete submission to the US. From the most sanctioned, Pakistan became the most allied non-NATO ally and bent backwards to accommodate US demands to provide it bases for the so-called war on terror, housing American servicemen, CIA operatives and even committing the Pak Army in the effort. When the going got tough in Afghanistan, pressure started mounting on Pakistan to do more; one of the leverages being used was its nukes. First, it was the disclosure of nuclear proliferation through the Khan network, followed by a media tirade on the security of Pakistans nukes and the threat they posed if they fell into the hands of terrorists, followed by organised and well-choreographed attacks on the countrys defence installations like the GHQ, Naval War College, air force facilities and now the PNS Mehran. There is a method in the madness because Pakistan has traversed this route earlier, as mentioned above. The Khan Network was used as a millstone around the countrys neck to pressurise it whenever the need arose to blackmail Islamabad into submission and action. It has become crystal clear through recent events that the Islamic states nukes are in danger of being confiscated through international and US legislation on the subject. According to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, the five officially declared nuclear weapon states - USA, Russia, UK, France and China - are signatories to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Four more states - Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea - have developed nuclear weapons outside the treaty, while Iran is alleged to hide its nuclear weapons programme. More so, South Africa destroyed its nuclear weapons in 1991, while Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan inherited nukes from the USSR, but have now either destroyed or sent them back to Russia under US and UN pressure. So to build a case against Pakistan and its military, an attack on a nuclear facility could be made so that it can be demonstrated that the country is incapable of guarding its nukes. It is, therefore, imperative for our leadership to take steps to thwart and frustrate such a conspiracy. However, some local pacifists believe that Islamabad should hand over its nukes for international safekeeping without considering that in case Pakistan had not possessed the nukes, it would have been devoured by India and a number of other detractors, decades ago. Only the people of Pakistan can decide the future of the nukes, for which they have sacrificed and are ready to guard with their lives. n The writer is a political and defence analyst.