Pakistan holds the honour of becoming first nuclear power in the Muslim world. Even globally, Pakistan’s Nuclear Technology has continuously improved its position. It has boosted the morale of nation as well as also making civil contributions.
Islamic Republic of Pakistan started a new chapter of progress on 28th May 1998 in Chaghi District of Baluchistan by testing Pakistan Nuclear Technology for the first time. Five underground nuclear tests were conducted simultaneously which were later given a code name ‘Chagai-I’. Pakistan tested its nuclear technology at 15:15 hrs PST at Ras Koh Hills. After testing the nuclear technology, Pakistan secured seventh rank among nations publicly testing their nuclear weapons. Later on, it conducted a second nuclear test titled as ‘Chagai-II’ on 30th May 1998.
Pakistan Nuclear Technology is considered ‘most improved’ in Nuclear Safety Index
Nuclear Safety Index, a nuclear watchdog, considers Pakistans’ nuclear technology as the ‘most improved technology’ and Pakistan as the ‘most improved country’ among states possessing weapons-usable nuclear materials. Since 1998, when its nuclear technology was primarily tested, Pakistan has continuously improved its position by refining its overall score by 7 points and securing the 19th rank globally. The principal rival of Pakistan and neighbor, India is at rank 20.
Motif behind Pakistan Nuclear Technology
A number of sources and experts including Defense Department reports and Jane’s Intelligence review state that the substantial motif behind Pakistan becoming a nuclear power was to counter the threat imposed by India after it became the nuclear power. Furthermore, so far Pakistan has also refused to Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty as well as Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The major reason behind the refusal is the fact that India has not committed to these agreements.
Defense Department reports have stated that Pakistan has clearly mentioned that it will not sign the NPT unless India also signs the agreement. The former Army Chief and President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf also reflected his satisfaction with the Pakistan nuclear technology. During his regime in May 2002, he stated that Pakistan does not want to indulge in any conflict with India. However, if India initiated a war then Pakistan will also use its nuclear technology.
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Pakistan’s reaction to its new identity – a nuclear state
Pakistani nation expressed immense joy after becoming a nuclear state. The development boosted the confidence and morale of the entire nation. The then Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif addressed the nation through state Television – PTV and congratulated the Pakistani nation. The nation also celebrated the victory for several days. Other relevant departments also issued their statements encouraging the scientists and congratulating the nation. Similarly, Directorate of Technical Development (DTD) of PAEC also congratulated the nation by issuing a statement.
DTD was responsible for carrying out the tests in Chagai and therefore, released their statement soon after conducting the tests. In their statement, DTD highlighted that the nuclear tests has boosted the confidence of the Pakistani nation. It also discussed that Pakistan has now secured a more honorable position in the world owing to its new success. They also gave credit to the various leaders who served during these years when this technology was being created including Munir Ahmad Khan, Ishfaq Ahmad and Samar Mubarakmand.
The national media of Pakistan also played a remarkable role in enhancing the joy of nation. They created and posted multiple biographies of scientists behind this success. Meanwhile, the scientists and engineers who were part of this assignment were invited at different forums including academic events to give lectures on various subjects like nuclear physics, mathematical physics, theoretical physics and particle physics etc. They were also given multiple silver and gold medals as well as honorary doctorates in the same year the tests were conducted.
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Abdul Qadeer Khan – Father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb
Abdul Qadeer Khan is also known as the Father of Pakistan’s nuclear technology. The Pakistani nation regards him because he did not only formed a nuclear bomb for Pakistan but also brought stability in the region of South Asia which was disturbed after India conducted its nuclear tests successfully.
Khan had received his education from the universities of Western Europe however, he joined Pakistani team of experts after knowing about the India’s nuclear test ‘Smiling Buddha’ in 1974. In 1976, he also laid foundation of Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) and served as its Chief Scientist and Director for several years.
Commemoration of Pakistan Nuclear Technology
28 May was decleared as Youm-e-Takbir by the then Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif. Youm-i-Takbir literally means Day of Greatness. It is also remembered as National Science Day. This day is remembered each year in order to salute the determination and continuous efforts made by the scientists and experts working on this project. A number of industries and individuals were given awards such as Chagai-Medal to acknowledge their services and hardwork. Chagai-I Medal was also awarded in 1998 to the team of this project consisting of scientists behind success of these tests.
Muhammad Abdus Salam, Nobel Prize winner in Physics from Pakistan, was also given his due credit. The government of Pakistan issued a commemorative stamp in his honour in 1998. Furthermore, the Pakistani government also established a museum where the contributions and efforts of Muhammad Abdus Salam were televised and recorded. This museum is at the National Center for Physics.
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Benefits of Nuclear Power to Pakistan
Pakistan holds the honour of being first Muslim state that not only became nuclear power but is also using Pakistan nuclear technology to operate civil nuclear power plants. These power plants are being run by Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC). It is stated that as of 2018, these power plants have generated approximately 7.5% of Pakistan’s generated electricity. The government of Pakistan also aims to increase the number of such power plants to 32 by 2050.