Shahbaz Sharif addresses the nation on Friday night. Twitter photo
Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Saturday congratulated the nation on the 24th anniversary of the country's successful nuclear tests and vowed to make Pakistan an economic power.
In his message on 'Youm-e-Takbir,’ the day Pakistan became an atomic power, he said, "Today in 1998, then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif rejected pressures and inducements in a bold show of leadership and made Pakistan nuclear power of the world. Now we are resolved to turn it into an economic power."
The prime minister also expressed gratitude to everyone who had made the country's defence "invincible."
The Foreign Office, in its message on the occasion, said the nuclear tests conducted in 1998 had not only demonstrated the nation's resolve to safeguard the country's territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty but also its determination to preserve the strategic balance in South Asia.
"Pakistan is committed to the promotion of an environment of peace and stability in South Asia, while preserving its capability to ward off aggression or adventurism in any form. It is a partner in international efforts to strengthen the global non-proliferation regime based on the principles of non-discrimination and equal security for all states. It adheres to the latest international standards on export controls and maintains highest standards of nuclear safety and security," Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar said in a statement.
He said that threats to the region's strategic stability highlighted Pakistan's Strategic Restraint Regime (SRR), which includes measures for the resolution of outstanding issues including the Kashmir dispute, nuclear and missile restraints and conventional balance.
He paid tribute to scientists, engineers and technicians who had "ensured Pakistan's safety."
The spokesperson's statement also highlighted Pakistan's beneficial use of nuclear technology in the energy, water and food security, education, health, agriculture and industrial sectors.
It noted that Karachi Nuclear Power Plant Unit-3 had been successfully connected to the national grid earlier this year. In addition, the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) was operating 20 cancer hospitals throughout the country.
The Pakistan Center of Excellence in Nuclear Security, which is recognised by the International Atomic Energy Agency, was providing international training in nuclear security, it added.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s wife Bushra Bibi on Monday paid a surprise visit to a “Panah Gah” (shelter home) in Lahore to see if the needy people there are being looked after properly.
The cancellation followed criticism by opposition parties, which denounced Wednesday's lifting of a two-year-old ban on the import of cotton and sugar from India, saying the government had acted without parliament's approval.
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