PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif on Sunday rued that “some people” had tried to “pull his legs” during his three government tenures when he aimed to ensure that Pakistan remained ahead in development and prosperity.
Addressing a PML-N rally in Lahore to commemorate the silver jubilee of Youm-i-Takbeer, the date of Pakistan’s nuclear tests, Nawaz said that going ahead with the tests despite all international pressures and offers was the “real absolutely not”.
“We do not carry aggressive designs against anyone but cannot permit anyone to look at us with a dirty eye. It has always been my wish for which I made efforts … that Pakistan remains ahead in development and prosperity as well … but what can I do unfortunately I have to say, that some people began pulling my legs.
“This happened in 1993, again in 1999 and you saw it happened in 2017 as well. Who knows what fear these people have of me that they want to ruin a smiling and thriving country,” the former premier said.
He contrasted the high difference in current economic indicators and prices with 2017, saying that he had always strived to serve the nation but “I am still sad that all three times I was deprived of advancing this sacred mission due to some excuse.”
Mentioning his government’s economic performance and achievements, he said they should not be forgotten but compared to those who had “arrived and only destroyed Pakistan”.
Expressing good wishes for the country, Nawaz said he had said much the same before and the country was going forward in a positive direction but “it is unfortunate that those derailing [us] from that track are still present in this society.”
Nawaz said those who had “thrust Pakistan into the fires of hate, misguided the nation, sacrificed the youth for their impure aims and pushed the country back many years” were unveiled.
“God did not give us this country for a dark day like May 9 but a bright day like May 28 or for burning but for development and prosperity.”
His daughter PML-N Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz also addressed the rally and paid tribute to the politicians, scientists, engineers and defence personnel who had played crucial roles in the country’s nuclear programme.
She also condemned the protests and riots of May 9 following the arrest of PTI Chairman Imran Khan.
Officials commemorate Youm-i-Takbeer
In separate messages on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Youm-i-Takbeer, President Dr Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb felicitated the nation.
The president termed the achievement of nuclear capability a remarkable feat for which the country’s scientists, engineers, and political and military leadership of the time deserved high commendation.
He said that on this day 25 years ago, in response to India’s nuclear tests, Pakistan conducted nuclear tests that were essential for maintaining the balance of power in the region.
“We must highly appreciate our political and military leadership that took the wise decision at that time to achieve nuclear capability making defence of the country unassailable,” the president said.
Alvi added that the whole nation paid tribute to the contributions of their eminent engineers and scientists who made Pakistan a nuclear power within a short period of time.
“For this, our whole nation was indebted to all those who played their part in making Pakistan the first Islamic nuclear power,” he added.
PM Shehbaz said Youm-i-Takbeer was not just a day but a story of the nation’s challenging and remarkable journey toward establishing credible minimum deterrence.
“The day represents how the consensus between all elements of national power achieved what once looked like an uphill task,” he said.
The prime minister paid tribute to Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, terming him a visionary who initiated the nuclear programme.
“In a show of bold leadership, my leader Mian Nawaz Sharif firmly rejected the policy of stick and carrot and made sure that the country became nuclear.”
PM Shehbaz said, “Our armed forces remained a guardian and protector of the programme in the face of the malign intentions of our enemies.
“On this day, Pakistan set a redline for its defence and laid down rules of the game for peace and stability in the region,” he added. “On the silver jubilee of Youm-i-Takbeer, I pay rich tributes to the political and military leadership, scientists, engineers and all those who remained associated with our nuclear programme.”
The premier concluded that “hard work, commitment, and determination” made it possible for our people to guard their independence against any physical threat.
FM Bilawal said he saluted scientists for their untiring commitment and contribution to Pakistan’s security and development.
“Quaid-e-Awam Bhutto laid the foundations of Pakistan’s nuclear programme and our scientists made his vision a reality, not only ensuring our regional security but also contributing to development.”
The defence minister hailed Nawaz for making the country’s defence invincible by detonating nuclear weapons.
“Our defence has become very strong due to achieving nuclear deterrence”, he said while addressing the ninth convocation of a private college in Sialkot as the chief guest.
He said that PM Zulfikar initiated the plan to make the country a nuclear power, but it was completed by the PML-N and the army also played a “very important role” in the nuclear assets of the country.
“Our Pakistan Army today is also protecting its borders as well as its nuclear assets for which we pay tribute to them.”
He said that “we should value our martyrs and ghazis because nations that forget their martyrs and desecrate their monuments cannot flourish.”
Meanwhile, Aurangzeb said Youm-i-Takbeer was the “declaration that Pakistan’s defence is invincible.”
“This day is the day of no compromise on the patriotism, bravery, insight, and national interest by PML-N Quaid Nawaz Sharif,” she maintained.
The minister saluted the entire team, including the scientists, who sacrificed for the country and made the defence invincible for future generations 25 years ago.
She asked the masses to celebrate the day’s national victory and national unity with pride this evening at Lahore’s Liberty Chowk Lahore by ensuring their participation at a rally to mark the occasion.
The armed forces of the country also paid rich tribute to “the brilliant minds who conceived and achieved this accomplishment under daunting challenges”, the army’s media wing said.
In a statement, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), said: “Today, the complete Pakistani nation celebrates the silver jubilee of Youm-i-Takbeer and commemorates the remarkable achievement of establishing Credible Minimum Deterrence”.
The statement said that the achievement “reshaped the power dynamics in our region”.
“We salute the scientists and engineers who turned the impossible into a reality. Long live Pakistan,” the ISPR concluded.