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Pakistan’s nuclear tests ensured deterrence: Sharif

Designated as Youm-e-Takbeer to mark Pakistan becoming a nuclear power, Shehbaz Sharif declared a public holiday for the first time in the recent past

File photo of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

By: Shajil Kumar

Commemorating the 26th anniversary of Pakistan’s first successful nuclear tests, its top leadership on Tuesday said the historic move in 1998 has ensured a “credible minimum deterrence” to safeguard the country’s territorial integrity.

Pakistan conducted six nuclear tests on May 28, 1998, inside a deeply dug tunnel in the remote Chagai mountain of Balochistan province, as a tit-for-tat response to India’s nuclear tests in the same month at the Pokhran Test Range.

Pakistan’s nuclear tests, state-run Radio Pakistan, said were conducted in response to the regional security dynamics and one that ensured that Pakistan’s defence capabilities were robust and credible.

Pakistan became the seventh nuclear nation in the world and the first Muslim state in 1998 having the nuclear arsenal in its defence stockpile to exercise deterrence.

Designated as Youm-e-Takbeer, translated as ‘the day of greatness’ or ‘the day of God’s greatness’, and observed annually with national zeal and fervour, Sharif has declared Tuesday as a public holiday, for the first time in the recent past.

Congratulating the nation in his message on social media platform X, Sharif said the day symbolises the collective effort of all facets of national power.

“May 28 signifies more than just a mere commemoration of a day; it encapsulates the narrative of our nation’s arduous yet remarkable path towards establishing a credible minimum deterrence,” he said, adding, “On this historic day, in 1998, PM Nawaz Sharif demonstrated bold leadership by rejecting nerve-wracking pressures and inducements to make Pakistan a nuclear-armed nation.”

Sharif also paid tribute to Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the founder of Pakistan’s nuclear programme for his “strategic foresight and unwavering commitment to the cause.”

Sharif said the nation should resolve to work tirelessly to ensure economic security with the same spirit it made the defence invincible on May 28, 1998.

The Pakistan Army, in a statement, said that the armed forces pay tribute to the unwavering dedication and selfless sacrifices of all those who contributed to this remarkable feat, achieved against overwhelming odds.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari congratulated all Pakistanis, remembering the legacy of Bhutto, “who envisioned making Pakistan a nuclear power”. (PTI)

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