LAHORE – PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif Monday said that conducting of nuclear explosions during his tenure made the defence of Pakistan impregnable and since then this capability has been discouraging the enemies from casting an evil eye on the motherland.

“India could have attacked Pakistan many times, but due to Pakistan’s being an atomic power, India could not gather courage to do so,” Nawaz told a huge gathering organised here by Nazria-e-Pakistan Trust and Tehreeke Pakistan Workers Trust in connection with the 14th Youme Takbeer at Aiwan-e-Karkunan Tehreek-e-Pakistan.

He was seconded by Editor-in-Chief The Nation and Chairman Nazria-e-Pakistan Trust Majid Nizami who said Pakistan’s nuclear explosions silenced threats that ‘our arch enemy’ India had begun to hurl immediately after her own nuclear tests.

Recalling the days of May 1998 when Pakistan practically joined the exclusive nuclear club, Majid Nizami praised Nawaz Sharif for the courage he showed by withstanding immense international pressure being put on him to stop him from leading his nation to go nuclear. He also revealed that he (Nizami) was one the main figures who advised the prime minister not to waste the opportunity presented by India’s exploding of her own nuclear devices.

Vice Chairman of the Trust Dr Rafiq Ahmad, Let-Gen (r) Zulfiqar Ali Khan, MNA Muhammad Pervez Malik, Shahid Rashid were also among speakers of function, which was also attended by Col (r) Jamshed Ahmad Tareen, Mohtarma Majida Wyne, Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa, Ch Abdul Ghafoor, Ahsan Iqbal, Mian Marghoob Ahmad, and Rana Muhammad Arshad.

Speaking as chief guest at the function, Nawaz Sharif recalled that when India conducted its nuclear test on May 11, 1998, he was on his official visit to Kazakhstan. Nawaz said he had then immediately decided that Pakistan would also conduct a nuclear test. It took only 17 days for Pakistan to successfully carry out its nuclear test which was done on May 28, 1998, the former prime minister said.

The PML-N chief said he had rejected a package of Rs15 billion and decided to test nuclear bombs in 1998. Nawaz said that Pakistan, by becoming a nuclear power, broke the ‘beggars bowl’. “It was not easy to test nuclear bomb and I waited for 17 days,” the PML-N chief said, adding that Pakistan’s security strengthened due to the explosions.

“I was told that I would be blown away if I gave a befitting reply to the Indian atomic explosions; I conducted the explosions, the nation did get me explode but Musharraf did blew up my government,” he said.

Nawaz Sharif said President Asif Ali Zardari had a discussion with him to give indemnity to former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf when he decided to step down as the president. He said that Zardari had showed no interest in “becoming the president, back then” and he took over the Presidency through deception. “I was shocked when he became the president and so were the people of Pakistan.” He further said that his party did not vote for Zardari as the president. Nawaz also claimed that general elections of 2008 were rigged but at that time he chose not to say anything.

PML-N chief also criticised Zardari for visiting Chicago to attend the Nato Summit. “Zardari should tell the nation what he was doing in Chicago,” he said. He also expressed concern over delay in the report of judicial commission on Abbottabad raid. Nawaz said the Abbottabad operation had shattered the sovereignty of Pakistan.

The PML-N chief also questioned was there anybody in the government who would bring peace in Karachi and Balochistan. He said the government was responsible for the worsening situation in Balochistan. Reminiscing over the past, Nawaz said that although manifestos of his party and that of Akhtar Mengal, chief minister Balochistan at that time, were different but they had reached a consensus on the nuclear test question.

“Baloch leader Akhtar Mengal accompanied me to Chaghai when I decided to test nuclear bombs,” he recalled, and added that now people don’t even hesitate to call these patriotic people traitors. He said the people of Bangladesh also rendered many sacrifices for Pakistan, but mistreatment by the Pakistanis forced them to decide their future.

In an obvious reference to PTI Chairman Imran Khan, Nawaz said those who have been claiming to solve all the problems within 90 days were telling lies. He said honour and respect does not come with speeches, it has to be earned through action.

Majid Nizami in his address said Youme Takbeer is a significant day and credit for it goes to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He also named celebrated Pakistani scientists Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, Samar Mubarikmand and others who made untiring efforts to make the county an atomic power.

Majid Nizami said Pakistan faced tremendous pressure from India after it has detonated five nuclear devices and America in this scenario also did not want Pakistan to become a nuclear power. US President Clinton telephoned Nawaz Sharif five times besides offering him billions of dollars to refrain him from going for nuclear tests. In this perspective, he said, Nawaz was receiving opinion from different sections of society and in the same connection he also convened a meeting of the editors wherein he (Majid Nizami) also gave the input.

Mr Nizami said during the meeting he felt Nawaz Sharif was in a quandary and he told the PM that the nation will blast him (Nawaz) if he did not explode nuclear bombs to give the Indians a befitting reply. “After Nawaz Sharif had successfully tested the nuclear bombs he telephoned me (Nizami) and congratulated me, saying though he supervised the bomb explosions but it was in fact me (Majid Nizami) who convinced him to go ahead with the nuclear blasts.” Majid Nizami recalled that Nawaz Sharif gave him the similar award that he gave to Dr Qadeer.

Mr Nazami reminded that once Dr AQ Khan telephoned him and asked him to take him to Raiwind saying that he has to see Mian Sharif, the father of Nawaz Sharif. When they reached Raiwind, Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif were also present where Dr Khan was laden with flower garlands. In that meeting it was decided the matter will be taken to Islamabad, so a meeting was held there and the matter was settled.

Mr Nizami said we all have to play our role to translate into reality the dreams and ideas of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Muhammad Iqbal. He said Kashmir is life line of Pakistan and unless the issue of Kashmir is resolved Pakistan must avoid all trade and other ties with India. He said forget about Aman Ki Asha and in the words of Holy Quran we must keep our horses ready – which in today’s world are missiles and atomic bombs – so that Kashmir could be liberated from Indian yoke. He said our atomic devices are far better than that of Indian’s.

Let Gen (r) Zulfiqar Ali Khan, who had worked for the preparation of Chagai site for the nuclear test, presented a comparison of 1998 and today and said that today things have quite changed but we are confused as to who is our real enemy. In 1998 a strong political force existed which resisted the pressure and blasted atomic bombs to give a befitting response to India, he added. He praised Dr Qadeer for playing ace role in the preparation of bombs and their tests. “A living nation never forgets her heroes.”

He said the leadership proved its potential in pressure and Nawaz Sharif stood true to test in 1998. He said today we desperately need unity and because due to disunity, despite being a nuclear power, we are facing humiliation. In 1998 scientists, people, leadership and the army were on the right path so Allah Almighty helped us to achieve that honour in the world. Zulfiqar said even today India has not shunned aggressive policy towards Pakistan but it cannot dare resort to attack us due to our nuclear capability.

Prof Dr Rafique Ahmad said that Nawaz Sharif went ahead with conducting nuclear explosions despite numerous foreign pressures in response to India’s atomic experiments. About five thousands scientists including Dr Abdul Qadeer Kha, Dr Samarmand Mubarik had worked day and night and made the defence of Pakistan impregnable, Dr Rafique added. He said that the purpose of all activities by Nazria-e-Pakistan Trust was to create a sense of pride among the new generation. He pointed out that the geographical location of Pakistan was one of the best in the world and God had rewarded the country with a lot of natural resources. On Yaume Takbeer the nation should pledge to put Pakistan on the way of progress, he concluded.