Political Struggle – Express Urdu

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Nearly a quarter of a century ago on May 28, 1998, Pakistan made history by conducting five atomic explosions, becoming the first Islamic atomic state in the world. The credit for making Pakistan a nuclear power goes to the founder and chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party and the country’s first elected Prime Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

Addressing the United Nations Security Council on September 22, 1965, Bhutto had stated, “We are engaged in a war that India has imposed on us under well thought-out plans. India, a country with a population of 450 million, continuously insists that the people of Kashmir are part of the Pakistani nation, and they are our flesh and blood in every religious, cultural, geographical, and historical aspect.”

Despite being a small country with limited resources, Bhutto vowed to continue the struggle for defense for a thousand years. When Bhutto became Prime Minister after the fall of East Bengal, he decided that in order to respond to Indian aggression with atomic capability, Pakistan must become a nuclear power. Under the leadership of Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, Bhutto initiated Pakistan’s journey towards atomic strength.

Pakistan’s leadership decided to respond to India’s show of strength at the Pokhran site on May 11, 1998, with a series of atomic explosions named ‘Chagai’, which tilted the balance of power towards India in the region. At that time, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was under intense international pressure not to conduct atomic explosions. Despite offers of five billion dollars in aid from the United States, Sharif, in the interest of public sentiment, rejected international pressure and on May 28, 1998, conducted five atomic explosions at the Chagai site, not only making Pakistan the first Islamic atomic state but also sending a message to India that if it attempted atomic aggression, Pakistan would respond with full atomic force.

The credit for the atomic explosions undoubtedly goes to Nawaz Sharif, who, by rejecting all international pressure, not only included Pakistan in the list of atomic nations but also took an unexpected national holiday announcement on May 28. After the atomic explosions, a quarter of a century passed, during which Nawaz Sharif served as Prime Minister twice.

May 28, 2024, holds great significance for former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as he has once again taken on the role of party leader. The Supreme Court had disqualified him in the Panama Papers case in 2017, resulting in appreciation for his premiership and his ouster from the party leadership. After him, his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif took over as the leader of the Muslim League (N). During Nawaz Sharif’s incarceration, he fell ill and was granted permission to go abroad for treatment for four weeks. He went to London and the granted four-week period turned into a four-year extension.

Before the February 8 elections, Nawaz Sharif returned to the country. In the election campaign, the slogan “Return Nawaz to Pakistan” was raised, and he bitterly regretted his statement “Why was I removed?” In the February 8 elections, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf emerged as a major party in the National Assembly and Nawaz Sharif could not become Prime Minister. He succeeded in making his brother Shahbaz Sharif the Prime Minister. Now, the Muslim League (N) aims to regain leadership and become active in politics. The party now seeks to elevate its position in Punjab’s politics.

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