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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Why a delay of 17 days to answer India's adventure ?


Episode 2 | Timeline of Nuclear Pakistan 

A question one may ask that why there was a delay of 17 days from Pakistan to respond India. However, there are various reasons for this appropriate response time. First Pakistani scientists were not ready to conduct nuclear tests at a notice of 1 day. They need to adjust the nuclear testing sites for carrying out the tests. According to a news report published on 12th MAY,1998 our scientists were in need of at least 7 days to conduct a nuclear test. The headline of that news report is mentioned here for reference.
First reason for delay

It must also be kept in mind that prior to Indian tests all the defense forces of Pakistan were in the state of peace and no formal operational strategy had been planned as they use to do under alarming conditions. Therefore defense forces of Pakistan and all paramilitary forces needed time to prepare in case of an all out attack by the Indians. All the forces were in routine formation and time was required to relocate the positions of Pakistani troops. Jahangir Karamat, then COAS visited the front lines several times during that tense time. one such newspaper clip depicts his visit to LOC for inspection of defense line of Pakistan on May 24, 1998


Second reason was nation wide consensus. A nation wide consensus was necessary for this important issue. Important regional and national leaders were contacted so that we can tell the world that we stand as a nation in these testing times. Several leaders were not in favor of tests. CM Balauchistan Sardar Akhtar Mengal was not in favor of nuclear tests he was rather stressing for economic development.

Consensus was to build up all along the country
Therefore, a committee was setup to meet different political forces of the country. The political leaders that were contacted were from different parties including the ANP, BNP, JI, JUP, MQM, and PPP. An interesting photo in this regard was published in local newspaper showing FM gohar Ayub meeting PPP chairperson Late Benazir Bhutto. She assured her party support to the govt.



The third major reason was that Pakistan wanted to see the world's reaction. We wanted to see that will the world act justifiably or not. We did not want to show that Pakistan's reaction was a tit for tat policy. Our aim was to convince our friends that world has not stopped India from endangering the regional peace therefore we need to act accordingly to ensure our safety. This strategy was appropriate but required time. Therefore in wake of India's action although the leadership was mentally prepared for tests but delayed for 17 days to see the world's response.

The fourth important reason was that Pakistan wanted to consult the friends. In order to setup with the world, delegations were sent to different friendly states. In such attempt the state minister for foreign affairs Siddique Kanjo went to USA and secretary foreign affairs went to china on 18th May 1998.


Several other parliamentarians and officials were sent to Muslim states in gulf. On May 19,1998 the PM had a telephonic conversation with brotherly Muslim gulf states and told them about the high-rise tensions in the region.


These delegations were sent to get assurance in favor of Pakistan and they did a successful job. Foreign Secretary Mr. Shamshad  came back from china with their assurance and it was reported in the newspapers of May 20,1998.

On 22nd May 1998 PM Nawaz Sharif while meeting the editors of Pak newspapers proved the above mentioned reasons of delay and following lines were reported by Fahd Hussain of The NATION on May 22,1998

"It was a good decision not to retaliate immediately. He said he has used this time to consult friendly countries and seek their advice on what course of action to adopt. He said he was glad that all political parties in Pakistan were saying the same thing"
     


Javed Hashmi in his book revealed some facts about the nuclear tests and told that Mian Nawaz Sharif stood firm during those testing days. I end this blog post by posting the extract from his book ہاں میں باغی ہوں 


~Hadeed Ahmed Sher

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