This letter is in recognition of Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan for his efforts in making Pakistan a nuclear state. It was his unwavering attitude which propelled Pakistan into becoming the seventh nuclear state in the world at the time, and the first Muslim country to achieve such a feat. On 28 May 1998, Pakistan announced that it had successfully conducted five nuclear tests. The Pakistani Atomic Energy Commission reported that the tests conducted on May 28 generated a seismic signal of 5.0 on the Richter scale, with a total yield of up to 40 KT. Dr A.Q. Khan claimed that one device was a boosted fission device and that the other four were sub-kiloton nuclear devices. On 30 May 1998, Pakistan tested another nuclear warhead with a reported yield of 12 kilotons. The tests were conducted in Baluchistan, bringing the total number of claimed tests to six, with another device reportedly being left un-detonated.

Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan should be revered as a national hero. A metallurgist trained in Germany, Khan brought with him the knowledge of gas centrifuge technologies that he had acquired via his position at the classified URENCO uranium enrichment plant in the Netherlands.

Pakistan is a force to be dealt with due to its nuclear capabilities. It was India who had conducted its first nuclear tests, signalling a threat to Pakistan. In response, Pakistan conducted its own tests only a few days later to make its ability to counter such a threat clear.

Then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had addressed the nation on television and stated that the tests by India had made a response inevitable and that while Pakistan had never wanted to be a part of the nuclear arms race, it would not allow the world to dictate its actions. The Indian Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, said Pakistan’s action vindicated India’s decision to conduct tests of its own.

We must pay tribute and honour our heroes, such as Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, who made it possible for Pakistan to stand at par with the superpowers of the world.