LAHORE - The nation is celebrating Yaum-e-Takbeer today to mark 18th year of becoming first Muslim nuclear power in the world.

On May 28, 1998, Pakistan detonated seven nuclear bombs in response to five of India to make its defence impregnable.

The day is commemorated with thanksgiving prayers, holding seminars, rallies, exhibitions and other events of the national character.

Pakistan carried out nuclear blasts in Chaghi, Balochistan, 17 days after India had executed five nuclear explosions in Pokhran area taking the balance of power in the region largely in its favour. The nuclear tests made Pakistan seventh atomic power of the world and first among the Islamic states.

The superior in quality and power, 50 killotons against 43 killotons of India, Pakistani atomic bombs radiated gold the Chaghi hill at the blast site. The then prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, a team of nuclear scientists and the military leadership witnessed blast tests and inspired the nation and Islamic world.

India which had already test-fired a nuclear bomb in March 1974, soon adopted a threatening tone towards Pakistan after conducted Pokhran explosions on May 11, 1998. Indian ministers were openly speaking about attacking Pakistan and its elimination to avenge centuries-long Muslims rule over the subcontinent.

However, a timely and befitting response by Pakistan silenced them and infused awe in the enemy about Pakistan’s superior quality atomic capability.

At that time the US government led by Bill Clinton following carrot and stick policy, offered the Pakistani leadership a very attractive economic and financial package, along with warnings of serious consequences, to refrain Islamabad from going to nuclear test. But the government did not budge to the US pressure and went ahead with the nuclear explosions as it was the voice of the whole nation.

Dr Majid Nizami, late Editor-in-Chief Nawa-i-Waqt, will also be remembered for his role in persuading the government for atomic blasts. History is a witness to Mr Nizami’s bold advice to PM Nawaz to go for the nuclear tests when he had called senior journalists for consultation on the matter. Nizami had said: “Mian sahib, go by the public aspirations on the tests otherwise the nation would blast you.” Since then, the Pakistani nation feels proud to be a nuclear power although, later on, it paid the price of US sanctions and other economic constraints.

From the beginning Pakistan has maintained a policy of adopting minimum nuclear capability which, however, is sufficient to deter the enemy from taking to any adventurism on it. Over the last 18 years, Pakistan has acted very responsibly and carefully about its nuclear capability. Its command and control system on the nuclear devices has been recognised as the best in the world while Pakistan has very successfully beaten the apprehensions the world received on its nuclear power from militancy in the region.

The nation and Pakistan Army are determined to guard their nuclear capability at every cost.