ISLAMABAD: It is our national responsibility to be prepared to protect the country from internal and external threats, said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his message on the occasion of 'Youm-i-Takbeer’, the day Pakistan became a nuclear power.

“Pakistan's atomic programme was developed to make country's defence impregnable. It is a guarantee to peace in South Asia. This programme created a balance of power, which was necessary to make this region safe,” said the message.

Youm-i-Takbeer is being observed on Saturday to mark the historic day when Pakistan tested its nuclear weapons on May 28, 1998 in Chagai, Balochistan, 17 days after India proclaimed nuclear power.

Congratulating the nation, the prime minister said Youm-i-Takbeer would always be remembered as an important milestone in the history of Pakistan, the first Muslim nuclear state.

The credit for making the country's defence secure goes to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, said the premier, adding that South Asian countries came out of instability due to Pakistan's nuclear programme.

“Our nuclear programme depicts the ability of the Pakistani nation; that they have the ability to face all challenges,” he added.

He said operation Zarb-i-Azb was the continuation of this pledge to make Pakistan's defence impregnable.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the entire nation was united on the issue of terrorism and the ongoing operations against terrorists were getting unprecedented successes.

He said the government was committed to making Pakistan an economic powerhouse, adding that various projects had been initiated under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project in this respect.

A sound economy is a prerequisite for invincible defence, the premier said.

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