KSA’s support for Pakistan lauded
Pakistan created a balance of power on the subcontinent when it decided to become a nuclear power on May 28, 1998, according to a senior Pakistani diplomat.
Consul General Aftab Ahmad Khokher was speaking here recently at an event organized by the Pakistan Muslim League (N) to commemorate the 16th Youme Takbeer, the “Day of Greatness” when the Muslim country achieved this status.
Khokhar said the name was suggested by a Pakistani citizen, Ghulam Kabeer Khan, when the nation’s people were asked for their views on how the day should be remembered.
Khokhar said there was significant “pressure” on the Nawaz Sharif government at that time to become a nuclear power. Sharif had cited as a reason the “menacing attitude” of Indian leaders following their detonation of nuclear devices on May 11 and 13 of that year.
The Pakistani leader had also raised concerns about opposition to his country’s nuclear plans, in contrast to the manner in which India was treated when it had launched its tests, said Khokher.
Speaking at the function as chief guest, (Retired) Lt. Gen. Malik Abdul Qayyum praised Saudi Arabia for providing Pakistan moral support in 1998 when Islamabad detonated an atomic bomb in response to India’s nuclear tests a few days earlier.
Qayyum, who is also the president of the Pakistan Vision Forum, said Riyadh stood by the country at a critical juncture when other world leaders were exerting pressure on Islamabad not to launch nuclear tests.
Qayyum said Pakistan was committed to its military and other cooperation with the Kingdom. “We supported Saudi Arabia in the past and will always remain a trusted ally of this country.”
Qayyum said India had left Pakistan little choice when it conducted five nuclear tests. “The world’s leadership did not condemn Delhi for its blasts, but piled pressure on us not to reciprocate,” he said.
He said that the Pakistan leadership realized that it had little support elsewhere and would have to develop the capability to defend the country.
Qayyum lauded the “thousands of unsung heroes and engineers” who were pressed into making the mission a success.
The Sharif government had taken the bold initiative then, as it is doing now, to unite competing political forces in the country, he said.
Calling Sharif a true statesman, Qayyum said he should resolve the crises currently afflicting the country.
Masood Puri, who organized the function, had earlier welcomed the guests and introduced Qayyum.
“Pakistan has two important days — Aug. 14, 1947 when it got independence and May 28, 1998, when it became the world’s seventh nuclear power,” he said, and credited the Pakistan Muslim League with both achievements.
The function began with a Qur’an recitation by Qari M. Asif followed by a naat by Asghar Chisti.
The speakers included Abu Bakar Memon, Dr. Sayeed, Raja Riyaz, Abid Ali and Malik Abid. The guests were mainly from Riyadh, Makkah, Madinah, Taif and Dammam, which according to one participant, “reminds us of being an atomic power.”