LAHORE - The nation is marking 20th anniversary of nuclear tests with national zeal and fervour on Monday (today).

The day, popularly dubbed as Youm-e-Takbeer, is celebrated every year on May 28 to commemorate the historic event when the country officially went nuclear in response to nuclear tests conducted by India.

With demonstration of atomic capabilities, Pakistan became the first nuclear power of Islamic and 7th world power under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who stood firm in the face of international pressures and lucrative offers of aid to abandon the plan to conduct the tests.

As a result of the nuclear explosions, the nation had to endure economic sanctions imposed by the international community but it stood by its principled stand on the issue of achieving national deterrence.

To mark the day, special prayers will be offered for peace, progress and prosperity of the country. Various ceremonies and seminars will be organised in which eminent scientists, intellectuals, defence analysts and notable personalities will pay tributes to the team of nuclear scientists who did raise Pakistan’s strategic status in the comity of nations and signified the principle of self-reliance.

Radio Pakistan and television channels will broadcast special programmes in which defence analysts, journalists, educationists, and intellectuals will participate and highlight significance of the day.

Meanwhile, President of PML-N and Chief Minister of Punjab Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif has congratulated the nation on the occasion of Youm-e-Takbeer.  In his message on this occasion, Shehbaz Sharif said that 28 May holds a significant position in Pakistan's political and defence history.

On this day, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif engraved a new history by pushing aside all the pressure and making nuclear explosions possible. He said that the credit of making Pakistan a nuclear power goes to the fascinating and courageous leadership of Muhammad Nawaz Sharif who rejected foreign aid and made defence of the country unconquerable by going through nuclear explosions. He added that pride of whole nation was boasted up at May 28, 1998 with this remarkable achievement of Pakistan. Youm-e-Takbeer is the day of celebration for the Pakistani nation and Muslims around the world, because today, Pakistan emerged as the first Muslim nuclear power on the map of the world, he added.

CM said that Pak army and other law enforcement agencies have rendered enormous sacrifices in the war against terrorism and marked a new history of courage and valour. Shehbaz Sharif on the occasion of this memorial and historic day paid tribute to those brave soldiers who have played a great role in making the defence of motherland supreme. “Today we have to reiterate the pledge that we will neither let down out country nor will we be hesitant to offer any sacrifice for the sovereignty and security of Pakistan”, he observed.