Dr. A Q Khan
Mohsin e Pakistan

May 28 1998

Posted in English Articles  by draqkadmin
May 24th, 2010

Random thoughts
By Dr A Q Khan

Even before India exploded its first nuclear weapon on May 18, 1974, Mr Bhutto had warned about this happening and had vowed to respond appropriately, even if Pakistanis had to eat grass to protect their sovereignty. I started the programme at Kahuta in July 1976 after coming back from Holland. Within the short span of eight years this country was in a position to explode a nuclear weapon at short notice. The government took 14 years to actually demonstrate this capability.

Had Mr Bhutto been alive to see those tests, he would have exploited our invaluable position and achievement for the benefit of the people and the country. However, once the giant was eliminated, the pygmies, did not benefit from this achievement, and we managed to turn it into something of a curse. In addition to the many difficulties brought down on us, the worst thing we did to ourselves was the freezing of foreign currency accounts. Not only did it hurt our economy, but we also lost international trust. We are still suffering the after-affects.

In a letter to Mr Zahid Malik dated Aug 16, 1999, former president Ghulam Ishaq Khan, who headed our nuclear programme for almost 18 years, wrote as follows: “The nation owes a debt of gratitude to its nuclear scientists and engineers for transforming an essentially technologically backward country in the 7th Nuclear Power state in the world. In bringing about this radical change the most vital and crucial contribution, in my judgement, was made by Dr A Q Khan and his Research organisation. Using weapon grade enriched uranium, a product of KRL, as ‘fuel’, they had developed, by the 2nd half of 1984, a nuclear explosive device which could be assembled and detonated at a short notice… Today KRL and its allied outfits stand as a shining monument to the foresight, patriotic vision and hard work of its architect (Dr A Q Khan).

On June 30, 1998, President Rafiq Tarar sent the following letter to me:

“The great news of our successful launching of Ghauri Missile reached me at Mina during performance of Hajj. At the reception held by Khadim-ul-Harmain-e-Sharifain at Mina, the delegates from all over the Muslim World were overjoyed when I told them about this achievement…

“When India went nuclear on May 11, 1998, our national sovereignty was seriously threatened…it was decided to provide a matching nuclear response to India. With God’s grace, Pakistan demonstrated its nuclear capability on May 28, 1998. The whole nation spontaneously expressed its heartfelt appreciation, admiration and love for the team of our nuclear scientists on accomplishment of this remarkable technological feat.”

“The restoration of the strategic security balance would not have been possible but for your brilliant work and superb leadership provided to the team of dedicated scientists and engineers.”

“May I congratulate you and your team on my behalf and on behalf of the whole nation for one of the greatest achievements in our history. May Allah Subhanahu Taala bless you all with continued success, happiness and glory.”

On July 31, 1998, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif wrote:

“Pakistan’s quest for nuclear and missile technology spanning over two decades was finally brought to a successful conclusion with the launching of the Ghauri on April 6, 1998, and the nuclear tests on May 28 and May 30, 1998.

“It has been a long and difficult road, replete with obstacles at every stage, but thanks to the dedicated and persistent efforts of you and your team of scientists and engineers, all impediments were successfully overcome. And, as a result, our long-cherished dream of a safe and secure Pakistan is today, by the grace of Allah Almighty, a reality.

“The whole nation is justifiably proud of your remarkable achievement and every Pakistani, both at home and abroad, is standing that much taller. While much has been achieved, a lot more remains to be done. I am confident that under your dynamic leadership, Pakistan’s nuclear and missile capability would be further refined and enhanced in the days to come, thereby adding immeasurably to our security.

“On behalf of my Government and the entire nation, I would like to extend to you and your team, sincerest felicitations and our heartfelt gratitude for a job well done. May Allah Almighty also bless your future endeavours.”

Chief of the Army Staff, Gen Karamat wrote on June 14, 1998:

“If there is nuclear capability in the hands of Pakistan today, this country owes it to you. Undoubtedly, it is due to our nation’s trust and faith in your outstanding abilities and all the men working under you. Your achievements to-date are a source of strength and pride for the whole nation.”

Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Bokhari addressed me with these words on August 8, 1998:

“On behalf of the officers, men and women of the Pakistan Navy and my own behalf, I congratulate you and your team for one of the greatest achievements in our history marked by the successful launching of the ‘Ghauri’ missile and the nuclear tests. Your dedicated and concerted efforts in this task of supreme national interest are praiseworthy and laudable.”

The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Mehdi Qureshi, on May 30, 1998:

“1. Pakistan’s matching nuclear response meted out to our adversary on 28 May, 1998. will, indeed, go down as a landmark in our national history. On accomplishment of this feat, I salute your dynamism as the architect of Pakistan’s nuclear capability. I also compliment your dedicated team on living up to the nation’s aspirations.

“2. We have been forced by India’s imperviousness to reason and emboldened hegemony to achieve our nuclear sovereignty. In fact, nothing is superior to Pakistan’s security, and the entire Pakistan Air Force is proud of you as a national hero.

“3. I pray for your success and glory, and the greater strength of our national defence in the days to come.”

Gen Musharraf:

“As we gather tonight to honour our most senior and eminent scientists, our national heroes, my thoughts go back to the eventful day in May 1974 when India conducted its first nuclear test and in the process, altered the security landscape of South Asia to Pakistan’s critical disadvantage. Coming so soon after the 1971 dismemberment of our country, the event served to deepen our sense of insecurity and vulnerability. To our conventional asymmetry was added yet another dimension of imbalance, and Pakistan was left to fend for itself. The international community, to no one’s surprise, went through the motions of ritual censuring and posturing, but at the end of the day, it was Pakistan which was left totally exposed to Indian nuclear blackmail and threats.

“The situation was critical. Our security paradigm had changed and, with no nuclear weapons programme worth the name, Pakistanis literally looked to the sky for help. We did not lose faith. And sure enough, Allah Almighty answered the nation’s prayers, had mercy on our situation and made a miracle happen. In walked a giant of a man, none other than Dr Abdul Quadeer Khan, the man who would give Pakistan a nuclear capability single-handedly.”

It is now 12 years since those heady days, but the removal of worries about our national defence has not been used to make our country more prosperous and peaceful. It seems that there is no hope for betterment. A dream has definitely gone sour.

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