Nawaz says defied international pressure to conduct nuclear tests

Nawaz Sharif

LAHORE: Former prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif on Monday said that he defied international pressure to conduct May 28, 1998 nuclear tests turning Pakistan into an atomic power, ARY News reported.

Speaking during an event to commemorate Youm-e-Takbeer, the deposed premier Nawaz Sharif lamented that despite his services for the nation and its defense, he is now being termed a traitor.

“Bill Clinton (then US president) had called me five times and offered five billion dollars to abandon nuclear programme but I refused.. a number of other world leaders telephoned me in quick succession but I defied all pressure for our national honour,” Nawaz told a charged crowd at Lahore’s Alhamra Hall, adding that Clinton later lauded him for his courage.

He was of the view that it was “elected leadership” which turned Pakistan into a nuclear power as an elected premier (Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto) who initiated the programme and finally an elected leader (Nawaz himself) who conducted nuclear tests.

PML-N’s lifelong leader maintained that he wanted to give Indian ministers a befitting reply for their boastful claims after India’s nuclear tests and made every effort to fasten the process leading up to nuclear tests.

“I contacted Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan and Dr. Samar Mubarak Qund and asked them to prepare for tests for I wanted to give India a befitting response… this was a matter of our national security and I couldn’t compromise on it.. I couldn’t wait (to conduct nuclear tests),” said Nawaz Sharif.

He lamented that despite his “courage” and “uncompromising attitude” for national security, he is now being termed a traitor.

The ousted premier urged all his followers and supporters to vote for him in large numbers to “rule in his favour”  and throw out the disqualification verdict.

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