May 28 Pakistan’s red line for defence: PM

our correspondents
Monday, May 29, 2023

Ag Agencies

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday said that Youm-e-Takbeer was not just a day but a story of the nation’s challenging and remarkable journey towards establishing credible minimum deterrence. The prime minister’s message came as the nation celebrated the silver jubilee of Youm-e-Takbeer and commemorated the remarkable achievement of establishing credible minimum deterrence.

The prime minister on his Twitter handle said that on that day, Pakistan set a redline for its defence and laid down rules of the game for peace and stability in the region. “On the Silver Jubilee of Youm-e-Takbeer, I pay rich tributes to the political & military leadership, scientists, engineers and all those who remained associated with our nuclear programme,” he said. He further said that their hard work, commitment and determination made it possible for the people to guard their independence from any physical threat.

“The day represents how the consensus between all elements of national power achieved what once looked like an uphill task,” he said.

The prime minister said Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) was a visionary leader who initiated the nuclear programme, adding in a show of bold leadership, his leader Mian Nawaz Sharif firmly rejected the policy of stick and carrot and made sure that the country became nuclear. “All along, our armed forces remained a guardian & protector of the programme in the face of malign intentions of our enemies,” he said.

Separately, the Pakistan Armed Forces paid rich tribute to the brilliant minds who conceived and achieved credible minimum nuclear deterrence accomplishment under daunting challenges. According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR): “The armed forces salute the scientists and engineers who turned the impossible into a reality. Long Live Pakistan.”

It said the complete Pakistani nation celebrated the Silver Jubilee of Youm-e-Takbeer and commemorated the remarkable achievement of establishing credible minimum deterrence. “This achievement has reshaped the power dynamics in our region,” it added.

President Dr Arif Alvi, in his message, said that the achievement of nuclear capability was indeed a remarkable feat for which the country’s scientists, engineers, and political and military leadership of the time deserved high commendation. The president felicitated the Pakistani nation. He said on this day 25 years ago, in response to India’s nuclear tests, Pakistan conducted nuclear tests that were essential for maintaining the balance of power in the region. “We must highly appreciate our political and military leadership that took a wise decision at that time to achieve nuclear capability making defence of the country unassailable,” President Secretariat Press Wing in a press release quoted the president as saying.

On this day, he said, the whole nation paid tribute to the contributions of their eminent engineers and scientists who made Pakistan a nuclear power within a short period of time. For this, our whole nation was indebted to all those who played their part in making Pakistan the 1st Islamic nuclear power, he added.

The president further said, “On this day, let us pledge to make Pakistan a stronger country by investing in the intellectual development of our people and strengthening our cyber-security to ensure our defence.”

While praying for the country and nation, the president said that with their collective efforts, they would be able to make Pakistan’s defence impregnable.

Separately, in a statement, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said Pakistan strictly adheres to the policy of credible minimum nuclear deterrence and, at the same time, Pakistan’s nuclear programme is for peace and stability in the region. “My party is strictly following the footsteps of its martyred leaders, founder chairman Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and chairperson Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, regarding the nuclear programme of the country,” he said. Bilawal pointed out that in 1998, when India carried out nuclear tests, then Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto stood firm as the leader of the opposition and demanded that the government should also immediately carry out nuclear tests, adding that even though Shaheed Benazir Bhutto was the opposition, she fully supported the Nawaz Sharif government on this issue.

He extended greetings to the nation and saluted all the people, including scientists, who played their role in making Pakistan the first nuclear nation in the Islamic world.

The PPP chairman said that the nuclear programme of the country is indeed a great gift of Qauid-e-Awam Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to the nation. He said that the first elected prime minister of the country, Shaheed Bhutto, had said that if we have to eat grass, we will do so, but we will make Pakistan a nuclear power at any cost.

“Making Pakistan a nuclear power was the mission of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto,” he added. The foreign minister said that Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto shielded and advanced the country’s nuclear programme as prime minister.

Meanwhile, addressing a public gathering at Liberty Chowk in Lahore to celebrate Youm-e-Takbeer, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN)’s Chief Organiser Maryam Nawaz said every Pakistani across the world felt proud on May 28, 1998, when former prime minister Nawaz Sharif stood against the international pressure and conducted nuclear tests while on May 9, 2023, every Pakistani felt ashamed when Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) attacked installations of armed forces and martyr’s memorials.

She said the nation saluted Nawaz Sharif who made the country’s defence invincible. She saluted national security agencies and Pakistan Army for protecting the country. “History is a witness that Nawaz Sharif carried out nuclear explosions in Chagai without a moment’s delay and made the defence impregnable,” Maryam Nawaz said, adding that US President Bill Clinton offered $5 billion but Nawaz refused and told him “absolutely not”.

Maryam thanked Allah Almighty that Nawaz was the head of the state at that time and taunted that if the jackal was the head of the state at that time then he would put his face in a black garbage can while India was commencing nuclear blasts. “Nawaz Sharif did not let the flag of Pakistan hang down without caring about the international sanctions and took care of the economy and the nation,” the PMLN senior vice president maintained. From defence to development and prosperity, the nation remembers only one name, Nawaz Sharif, Maryam said. She said the people only remembered those who built the country and no one remembered the one who burnt the country.

Maryam said a leader stood before the nation as a shield and Nawaz acted like an iron shield when the time came while the jackal hid in a bunker and put an iron bucket on his head. She said now the jackal was requesting a US senator to give statement in his favour so that there would be pressure on Pakistan.

She said that PTI Chairman Imran Khan first talked about the American conspiracy, then came Donald Lu, then came the slogan of “we are not slaves”, then he raised the slogan of Haqiqi Azadi and now he was requesting the US to rescue him. “On May 9, 2023, every Pakistani’s head bowed in shame to see the scenes that are seen in terrorism-hit countries,” Maryam said and asked the crowd which Pakistan and the image have to be kept alive, May 9th or May 28th.

She said if anyone, including Fitna, committed terrorism, a case will be registered under terrorism law instead of garlanding with flowers. A special audio message from Nawaz Sharif was also played in the ceremony. In the message, Nawaz Sharif said he wanted to congratulate the nation on Youm-e-Takbeer.

“Twenty-five years ago, we were faced with the great test of history, on the one hand, the responsibilities of defending the homeland and on the other hand, there was an offer of billions of dollars,” Nawaz said, adding, on one side were the wishes of the people and on the other side were the threats of the world. He further said on one side was the country’s prestige and on the other was the fear of difficulties, and in that hour of the May 28 exam, Allah took our hand and gave us the courage to make the right decision.

“As soon as India made nuclear explosions, we retaliated,” Nawaz Sharif said and maintained that with those tests, Pakistan emerged as the seventh nuclear power in the world and became a living reality. He said with our actions, we told the world that we were not slaves and now no one can turn a blind eye towards Pakistan.

He added that along with being a nuclear country, Pakistan also became a power of development and prosperity. May 9 is the day of hate for the country while May 28 is the day of love.

Singer Humaira Arshad also performed at the ceremony while a large number of party workers and citizens reached the Liberty Chowk.

Meanwhile, addressing the 9th convocation of a private college in Sialkot as the chief guest, Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif said 25 years ago on May 28th, Pakistan became a nuclear power and our leader, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, made the country’s defence invincible by detonating nuclear weapons. “Our defence has become very strong due to achieving nuclear deterrence,” he said.

He added that political parties or political leaders were not our red line, but the soil of this country and our martyrs should be our red line, who have defended this dear country and our safety and did not hesitate to sacrifice their lives for it. He said that Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto started to make the country a nuclear power, but it was completed by the PMLN. The Pakistan Army has also played a very important role in the nuclear assets of the country. “Our Pakistan Army today is also protecting its borders as well as its nuclear assets for which we pay tribute to them.”

He said that we should value our martyrs and ghazis because nations that forget their martyrs and desecrate their monuments cannot flourish.

While exhorting the youth, he said that our young generation should show patience and tolerance, develop patience and respect each other’s opinions. Khawaja Asif said that the May 9th events were the worst violent form of dissent in national life while also targeting the very institutions that protect us.

“Our martyrs are our benefactors to whom we salute, thanks to the sacrifices of martyrs we are breathing in free air today, soldiers of the Pakistan Army are fighting against terrorism with their lives and so we should appreciate their sacrifices.” The defence minister said that it was our forces that were sacrificing their lives to provide us with a peaceful life.

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that May 28 served as a testament to the unwavering determination of the people of Pakistan to make the defence of the country an insurmountable challenge.

In a tweet, the minister said as the nation celebrates the silver jubilee of the day of nuclear tests carried out by Pakistan in 1998, “Let us all honour and acknowledge the pivotal contributions of individuals who played a crucial role in achieving this historic milestone and made Pakistan’s defence impregnable.”

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Aurangzeb, meanwhile, said that Youm-e-Takbeer was the declaration that Pakistan’s defence was invincible. Thanking Almighty Allah, the minister, in a tweet, congratulated all Pakistanis at home and abroad and thanked all friends and benefactors. “This day is the day of no compromise on the patriotism, bravery, insight and national interest of Quaid Nawaz Sharif,” she maintained.

The minister saluted the entire team, including the scientists who sacrificed for the country and made the defence invincible for future generations 25 years ago.