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Sunday, July 29, 2012

The timeline of a Nuclear Pakistan

Timeline of Nuclear Pakistan 

In the recent days a lot of discussion has taken place on social media with most of the material based on the current statements from Mohsin Pakistan Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan. Most of the posts on social media pages portrayed that then govt of Pakistan Muslim League was not willing to conduct the nuclear tests and it was the pressure exerted by the nation that forced them to carryout nuclear explosions. Since archives of the 20th century newspapers of Pakistan are not available on internet therefore no one bothered to do research to see what actually happened during those tense days. Was it really the Nawaz Govt. that resisted the tests ? Or there were some other constraints that made a delay of 16 days to respond the Indian Threat. Was the delay necessary ? The quest of these questions forced me to spend time in public libraries and finding the archives of MAY 1998. The essence of my work is presented in this blog post. The time line of the nuclear Pakistan is given in the following paragraphs. The rebuttal of "Who wanted to conduct and who do not wanted to conduct test" will be posted soon. The timeline presented here however, clearly shows the honesty of Pakisatni leadership for conducting the tests.

11th MAY, 1998 | Timeline of Nuclear Pakistan begins

Pakistani PM was on a visit to Kazakhstan where he was attending the ECO summit. India without having any threat to its national security tested 3 Nuclear devices. Three nuclear devices that were tested includes Fission, Low yield and Thermonuclear type. To pressurize Pakistan, India conducted the tests at a site that was only 150 km far from Pakistani Border. India also tested one short range missile Tirshol the same day. 
Not only Pakistan but the majority of nations from all over the world were given complete surprise. For Pakistan it was a testing time. The testing time to react like a responsible muslim state. The testing time to react like a powerful nation.
The same day Pakistani FM Gohar Ayub rapped the international community for encouraging India to achieve the nuclear aspirations. He was talking in the senate of PAKISTAN the same day. It was very clear that PAKISTAN as a nation and PMLN as a ruling party has no ambiguity to let India do whatever she likes. Following snapshot of a local Pakistani Newspaper is a proof for the first day of nuclear PAKISTAN timeline.
Day 1- Nuclear Pakistan Timeline

13 May 1998: Day 2 of Nuclear Pakistan Timeline

Pakistan was sure to conduct tests from the day one . All it needed was time to adjust with the scientific and security arrangement to ensure the safety of sensitive nuclear installations. The PM of Pakistan on the very next day made it clear that Pakistan will not accept any dictations and we will decide what is in the best interest of country. 

Talking to the reporters he categorically stated that

"I want to assure the nation that we are not oblivious of the country's legitimate security concerns " The NATION May 13,1998

It was not only then PM Mian Nawaz Sharif , the symbol of federation President Rafique Tarar also assured the nation that Pakistan will react appropriately but at proper time.

14 May 1998: Day 3 of Nuclear Pakistan Timeline

Time was passing swiftly and the matters were presented to the Defense Committee of Cabinet (DCC). A lot of things were to be finalized and a debate on both aspects of the issue was started. It was also important that PAKISTAN had to plan economically for the likely sanctions from USA and its allies. The financial situation and the defense preparations must be discussed before the nuclear tests. The Nation filed a photo of the third day showing Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan taking notes during a DCC meeting.

Day 3 - Timeline of a Nuclear Pakistan
The same day it was reported by the local newspapers that US President Bill Clinton telephoned the PM Nawaz Sharif and said that USA will enforce its laws relating to nuclear explosions and they will envisaged the sanctions in that law. However, PM Nawaz Sharif took a bold step and made it very clear to him that Pakistan has all the right to do whatever is to ensure its security and we will take appropriate steps.

15 May 1998: Day 4 of Nuclear Pakistan Timeline

Day 4 of nuclear Pakistan timeline comes up with a headline on National newspapers that Pakistan rejects pressure on national security. The cabinet was reported unanimous over the nuclear tests.
I know where you do not have archives on internet its very easy to play foul. The present social media is so keen to circulate false stories based on some news paper columns about the nuclear test just to malign Nawaz Sharif. The image below shows the news clip.

Day 4: Timeline of a Nuclear Pakistan

16 May 1998: Day 5 of Nuclear Pakistan Timeline

After the first call from US President, USA sent its deputy secretary of state Mr. Talbot to negotiate with Pakistan but PMLN govt lead by Mian Nawaz Sharif (PM) told him that Pakistan is not refraining from a tit for tat response of Indian explosions. However, as a token of world policemen they did not forget to inform Pakistan that serious consequences will be faced if we tested our nuclear devices, but it was its bad luck LIONS were ruling Pakistan.

Day 5 of Nuclear Pakistan Timeline
Bill Clinton was hopeful that Pakistan will not explode the nuclear devices and will be happy on the economic package but alas....

17 May 1998: Day 6 of Nuclear Pakistan Timeline

On day 6 the three major government office holders told the nation that Pakistan will not compromise on its security. First it was the FM Gohar Ayub who in a very clear way told the world that Nuclear tests are very close to certain, second it was PM Nawaz Sharif who once again express that Pakistan will never compromise its security. The President Rafique Tarar used the forum of 102 GDP course and 48th Engg. course at PAF academy Risalpur to verbalize that it is beyond imagination that Pakistan will compromise its sovereignty. Below given newspaper cuttings are the reference of day 6 activity.

18 May 1998: Day 7 of Nuclear Pakistan Timeline

After the policy statement by the Pakistani FM,PM and the President USA decided to threat Pakistani govt and nation to face with dire consequences.

The Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif sensed the matter well and told USA that Pakistan will decide what is in the best interests. He while addressing a open kutchery told the world 

"We are not worried over the India nuclear tests because Pakistan has the same potential. Pakistan can prove its nuclear worth within 12 to 24 hours. We have not taken any decision in haste in this regard and we are monitoring the reaction of the world towards Indian nuclear explosion"

19 May 1998: Day 8 of Nuclear Pakistan Timeline

After the stiff reply by the PM Nawaz Sharif earlier the two important persons called PM Nawaz Sharif and ask Pakistan to restraint. How come it was possible. The news paper headlines states the English word REBUFF that means a blunt or abrupt rejection. You rocked Mian sb..

20 May 1998: Day 9 of Nuclear Pakistan Timeline

The Pakistani PM again assured that taking the Indian threat seriously and he raised the question that Indian home minister is talking about occupying Azad Kahsmir and how our action of nuclear testing will  be wrong under  these circumstances?

One news report of the same day revealed that Pakistan may conduct nuclear test in the next 72 hours. The report show that the trips to friendly countries were successful and our friends have given us a green signal thus understanding our point of view. The report further revealed that the deadline can be extended for meeting toughest technical requirements.

21 May 1998: Day 10 of Nuclear Pakistan Timeline

The diplomatic efforts of Pakistan produced results after it was reported in the newspaper that Kuwait, Bahrain and Iran announced to support Pakistan.

22 May 1998: Day 11 of Nuclear Pakistan Timeline

The PM Nawaz Sharif hold upon a meeting with the editors of national newspapers and said that Pakistan is very much disappointed with the world's reaction on Indian tests and if the world can not support our decision at least it should not oppose it.

The same day President also assured that we will not compromise the security. I wonder how people can claim that Mian Nawaz Sharif and the PMLN govt. were not in favor of nuclear tests and it was public pressure that forced them to conduct nuclear tests.

23 May 1998: Day 12 of Nuclear Pakistan Timeline

The day arrived when PM declared that Pakistan is ready for befitting reply. That day newspaper also told us that Bill Clinton and Tony Blair again phone Nawaz Sharif. Pity for the US and UK a lion was ruling the country.

24 May 1998: Day 13 of Nuclear Pakistan Timeline

After receiving calls from US, Britain and Canadian govts. it was clear that the world economic powers will impose sanctions on Pakistan. The economic sanctions looks light when you read them on newspaper but a country striving for a better economy its hard to get through it. The PM Nawaz Sharif stated that we as a Nation are ready to face the sanctions. In other words he had told the world about our decision. 

25 May 1998: Day 14 of Nuclear Pakistan Timeline

A hijacking drama of PIA plane PK-554 was plotted by the Indians that was ended after a commando operation at Hyderabad Airport. It is important to mention here that same sort of drama was played by Indian authorities during 1970's to help the Makti Bahnis of East Pakistan. The Indian drama revealed that India is looking for some misadventure.

26 May 1998: Day 15 of Nuclear Pakistan Timeline

The situation was critical and it was evident that India will try to jeopardize the security of Pakistan before it will test the nuclear devices. To counter the Indian moves the PM and COAS met in Islamabad and discussed the security issues. COAS also directed the army units deployed along LOC to prepare for the Indian moves. 

27 May 1998: Day 16 of Nuclear Pakistan Timeline

In wake of the Indian threat and to strengthen the defense along LoC the govt setups the border defense bodies by distributing arms and ammunition to some 2000 villagers that constitute 160 defense bodies. The same day COAS visited the LoC and the Navel chief visited the units of Pak Navel fleet. Meanwhile, the two elders of the govt. meets and discusses the steps taken for national sovereignty. The Federal Minister of Finance  Sartaj Aziz who as also the member of DCC told that defense can not be bartered for economic package. 
Nation was preparing to conduct the nuclear tests within a couple of days.

28 May 1998: Day 17 of Nuclear Pakistan Timeline

Due to the increasing Indian threat Pakistan deployed a medium ranged Ghauri missile to oust any preemptive strike from India. The missile was sent from AQ Khan research laboratories to unknown place. It should be noted that Ghauri can hit every corner of India and is capable of carrying out nuclear war head. Just before Pakistan was becoming the first Islamic Nuclear state Turkish, Japanese and British PMs phoned Pakistani PM. The answer of our PM was simple 

"We can thwart any  aggression " 

28 May 1998: Nuclear Pakistan Timeline Finished 

Before carrying out the tests it was a tense night as Pakistani intelligence reported about possible attack on Kahuta atomic plant. PM Nawaz Sharif did not go to bed he remained active throughout the night ordering measures to counter the "attack". When asked to take rest he said

"The nation is sleeping and therefore i must keep awake"

On 28th of May 1998 Pakistan successfully tested 5 nuclear devices in response to India's challenge. The balance of power was made in favor of Pakistan. However, Pakistan, unlike India did not revealed the type of devices tested. 

The next day was a jubilation across the country. There was a wave of happiness all over the country and the entire nation which was demoralized after the explosion of May 11 and 13 heaved the sigh of relief. Soon the people in a spontaneous reaction arranged extensive fireworks, firecrackers and resorted to aerial firing to express their happiness.
The most important aspect of the nuclear Pakistan timeline was that it immaculately restored the fragile balance of power between Pakistan and India and successfully lightened the clouds of war that had began looming over the subcontinent.
ABC news reported the Pakistan's nuclear tests that clearly showing the disappointment of USA for not restraining Pakistan. The report proved that the decision for nuclear tests was a great show of an independent Pakistan.

Later on 30th May Pakistan tested another nuclear device thus balancing a score of 6/6 with India.

Thank you Nawaz Sharif

Thank You PMLN

~Hadeed Ahmed Sher