Lahore: As Pakistan Tuesday marked the 21st anniversary of its atomic tests, jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif said that his decision to make the country a nuclear power has made its defence “invincible.”
On May 28, 1998 Pakistan carried out five nuclear tests at Chaghi in Balochistan province during Sharif’s tenure as prime minister. The day is since observed as Youm-e-Takbeer in Pakistan.
Pakistan’s nuclear tests came days after India successfully carried out the atomic tests in Pokhran on May 11.
“May 28 is an unforgettable day in the history of Pakistan. On this day, the defence of the country was made invincible when Pakistan emerged on the world map as a nuclear power,” 69-year-old Sharif, supremo of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), said in a message which was shared on his party’s Twitter handle.
“Youm-e-Takbeer is a day of nation’s honour. A sign of nation’s unprecedented bravery, it also gives a message to the country’s enemies that there would be dire consequences in case of any misadventure against Pakistan,” he said in the message from the Kot Lakhpat jail where he is currently undergoing a seven-year-sentence in a corruption case.
Sharif said his government was threatened with economic sanctions in case of the atomic tests. He also said that Pakistan was offered billions of dollars for not conducting the tests. “But I accepted all the challenges and went ahead with the tests,” he said.
The PML-N chief claimed that external forces hatched conspiracies against him for making the country an economic power for his approval of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor due to which he was being punished – first forced to go on exile and later sentenced to jail.
“In the solitary confinement, I assure the nation that I will never compromise on the constitutional rights of the people, people’s right to vote and country’s security and sovereignty,” he said.
Sharif has been serving a seven-year prison term at the jail since December 24, 2018 when an accountability court convicted him in one of the three corruption cases filed in the wake of the apex court’s July 28, 2017 order in Panama Papers case.
Sharif and his family have denied any wrongdoing and allege that the corruption cases against them were politically motivated.