ISLAMABAD: As Youm-i-Takbeer is being observed across the country on Tuesday (today), Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has lashed out at the government for exploiting the country’s nuclear programme for political gain.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday declared May 28 — known as Youm-i-Takbeer — a national holiday to mark the day Pakistan became a nuclear power 26 years ago.

A PTI spokesperson slammed the PML-N for trying to take credit for Pakistan’s peaceful nuclear programme, accusing them of exploiting it for political gain. He emphasised that Pakistan’s nuclear capability was achieved thanks to the determination of the nation and the tireless efforts of skilled and patriotic scientists, not due to any political party’s efforts.

The spokesperson said in a statement that the nation commemorates May 28 as the day of Pakistan’s successful nuclear tests, a momentous occasion that showcases the nation’s unwavering resolve, determination, sacrifice, and unity.

Says country under ‘worst dictatorship since regime change operation’

He emphasised that keeping in view the principle of maintaining a minimum defence capability and restoring regional balance, the nation made a firm decision to sacrifice whatever it took to preserve the nuclear programme and establish Pakistan as a nuclear power.

However, the PTI spokesperson alle­ged, a particular group — a reference to PML-N — was trying to exploit Pakistan’s peaceful nuclear programme for their “vested political interests”, despite the fact that they played no role in making Pakistan’s defence impregnable.

He asserted that every stage of the nuclear programme, from inception to completion, enjoyed full public support and participation, emphasising that it was crucial to meet the essential defence needs in the face of a much larger enemy, both economically and in terms of size, and the nation successfully fulfilled this responsibility.

The PTI spokesperson claimed that former foreign minister Gohar Ayub Khan and Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, nuclear physicist who is colloquially known as the ‘father of Pakistan’s atomic weapons programme’, had revealed how then PM Nawaz Sharif’s “platelets” were rapidly falling after India conducted nuclear blasts.

He went on to say that the claim of making the country a nuclear power by those who weakened the country through “loot of the national treasury” was nothing more than a hoax.

‘Worst dictatorship’

Meanwhile, the PTI alleged that Pakistan has been gripped by the ‘worst individual dictatorship’ since the regime change operation, which has deprived the country of its Constitution and the rule of law.

Referring to a statement by Bahria Town owner Malik Riaz, the PTI spokesperson said that not only politicians but also judges, journalists, lawyers, traders, businessmen, and people from all walks of life are being targeted, harassed, and coerced to submit to the “will and whims of one individual”.

On Sunday, the real estate tycoon claimed that he was being pressured for “political motives”, but asserted that he would not bow before anyone. In a message on X, formerly Twitter, Malik Riaz said he had been pushed to the wall and was facing constant losses in his business.

The PTI spokesperson said that in a system that prioritises individual power, bullying, coercion, and oppression have become the norm, forcing people into submission.

Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2024

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