LAHORE Pakistan will be celebrating the 13th anniversary of its nuclear tests on Saturday (today) at a time when concerns are being expressed about the safety of its nuclear weapons. PML-N Quaid Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, who was the then Prime Minister when the nuclear tests were carried out, will address a ceremony at Aiwan-i-Iqbal, Lahore on May 28th to mark the event. He is expected to highlight the significance of the nuclear capability and the pressures he had to face till the last moment. Pakistan insists that its security system, which works under the supervision of the Nuclear Command Authority, is one of the best in the world, but the recent attack on a naval base in Karachi, in which the terrorists destroyed two of the three P-3 Orion surveillance planes the country had purchased from the US, have provided the critics with a pretext to raise questions about the security of the nuclear arsenal. The country, however, is determined to move forward, convinced that enemies of Pakistan would not tolerate nuclear capability of an Islamic country. People say that characterisation of Pakistans nuclear weapon as an 'Islamic bomb shows the prejudice of the countries which have turned a blind eye to what can be called a Hindu bomb of India, a Jewish bomb of Israel or a Christian bomb of some other states. Pakistan had taken the decision to carry out nuclear tests on May 28, 1998, about two weeks after such tests by India. New Delhi had exploded the nuclear weapons with the main objective of showing the world that it was the sole nuclear power of the Sub-continent and be recognised as such. The supremacy dream was, however, shattered when Pakistan also showed its capability in about a fortnight, making it clear to the world that it would not accept Indian hegemony. The decision to carry out nuclear tests was taken by the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in consultation with the military leadership. All likely consequences, including economic sanctions by various countries, were discussed before exploding the device in the mountains of Balochistan. Former US President Bill Clinton had made several telephone calls to offer Nawaz Sharif an assistance of $5billion to dissuade him from carrying out the tests. However, convinced that the nation would not be satisfied unless Pakistan showed its capability, he rejected the assistance offer and gave the scientists a go-ahead. Pakistans decision served as a morale booster for the entire Islamic world and many OIC states regarded it as their own success. Pakistans nuclear programme was started by late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto after India exploded a nuclear device in 1974, when Indira Gandhi was the then Prime Minister. He was the one who had persuaded Dr A.Q. Khan to leave his job abroad and return to Pakistan to work on the countrys nuclear programme. All rulers played their roles in advancing the nuclear programme. However, Gen Zia, Ghulam Ishaq Khan and Agha Shahis role would always be remembered by the nation. They arranged the resources required for the purpose. Nawaz Sharif took the nuclear programme to the pinnacle when he conducted tests during the second year of his second term as the then Prime Minister. China extended all possible cooperation to Pakistan to enable it to attain the capability. Pakistan evolved a security system, which is regarded as one of the best in the world, for the safety and security of its nuclear weapons. A number of countries have expressed their satisfaction over the system. At times, however, some countries stated that militants could take over Pakistans nuclear weapons, a possibility strongly rejected by the government. Islamabad gave tremendous respect to Dr AQ Khan, but it did not give him a high political office.