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Thursday, May 28, 1998 Published at 19:01 GMT 20:01 UK

World: Monitoring

Nawaz Sharif's speech

In his address to the nation, broadcast live on Pakistani television, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the five nuclear tests marked a decisive moment in Pakistan's history and he called for national austerity in the face of the expected international sanctions.

Following are excerpts from his speech:

'Defensive step'

"My dear countrymen: Peace be upon you. This auspicious day is an historic event for us. Today, God the great has bestowed us with the courage and determination to enable us to make a decision to take a defensive step, which has become inevitable for us for the sake of our country's security.

"When India tested its first nuclear bomb in 1974, we were not aware of any other use of the nuclear science except its peaceful uses. This nuclear test posed new threats to us. Whenever we tried to draw the world's attention towards this massive armament programme, the Indian leaders came up with only one answer: that the preparations were made to counter the Chinese threat. We insisted that all these preparations were against Pakistan.

Tests possible '15-20 years ago'

"China is against expansionism in spite of being several times more powerful than India in respect of its strength and defence capabilities, while India is an expansionist country. We constantly pointed towards this fact but the major powers did not pay any attention to this and continued to believe in false pronouncements made by Indian rulers. Under these circumstances, it was but natural for us to get worried.

"We expressed this worry in every way. I even proposed that the United States, Russia, and China use their good offices to protect Asia from the nuclear arms race. Our behaviour clearly demonstrates that we have not been striving in any way to join the nuclear arms race. Had we wished so, we could have conducted nuclear tests 15-20 years ago, but we had in mind the poverty and misery of the people of our region.

Praises Pakistan's 'patience'

"South Asia is a backward region. The majority of our people have no access to the basic facilities of life. We had wished that the race between the countries of this region should be in the area of economic development and not in the field of armament. On the one hand, we kept on taking measures to protect ourselves from India's aggressive designs and, on the other, kept on urging the world to keep India from unleashing the thoughtless nuclear arms race. However, instead of exerting pressure on India, the world made us the target of a variety of restrictions for no fault of ours. Even then, we did not lose our patience.

"We believed in the promises made by global powers and kept on nursing the hope that they will fulfil their responsibilities, and that the campaign being waged against nuclear armament will yield positive results. But, what we got in return for observing patience, caution, and demonstrating the sense of responsibility were nuclear explosions along our borders, missiles deployed and pointed towards cities, threats to us with India changing the power equilibrium by testing nuclear bombs, the warning that we must learn to live as subservient people, and threats of military occupation of Azad Kashmir...

World should have 'blockaded' India

"What was necessary was that India should have been blockaded without any moment's delay for the manner in which New Delhi insulted world public opinion and scornfully rejected the world nations' demands. Highly effective sanctions would have been imposed against India until it stopped its nuclear weapons programme, but, regretfully, no such effective step was taken to make India realise its mistake. The manner in which India was condemned could not prove meaningful.

Praises Beijing's support

"We acknowledge the concerns of our friends and global powers and their anxiety about our security; especially the manner in which China has supported us on this occasion is praiseworthy. Pakistan-China friendship has proved stronger and more meaningful after every test and tribulation. We are proud of our great neighbour.

"Japan's stand is based on supreme human principles. This is the only country of the world which became the victim of the horrid devastation caused by nuclear weapons. Japan's concern is justified but we want to avoid the destruction witnessed by the Japanese people. It is my opinion that had Japan possessed a nuclear bomb, Hiroshima and Nagasaki would never have been destroyed.

"No option" but to stop India

"I have had five telephone conversations with US President Bill Clinton. He expressed heartfelt sympathy, for which I am very grateful. I understand that President Clinton is aware of our compulsions. However, India is running so far ahead in the nuclear arms race that there is no option but to stop it. A retaliatory action has become indispensable for the sake of peace and security of this region. It sounds incomprehensible to us that India is being asked to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty after having made and operated nuclear weapons. India is being told that if it promises not to conduct any nuclear tests in the future, all of its sins will be pardoned. However, we were advised to act with caution and not to take any retaliatory action in haste.

Pakistan 'not a submissive nation'

"But, I am not the representative of a cowardly and submissive nation. The series of provocative statements that the Indian leaders have been giving after the nuclear explosions is becoming intolerable for us. Pakistanis are a self-respecting and honourable people who can sacrifice their lives to protect their honour and dignity. If these people were able to tolerate anyone's hegemony and arrogance, this country would not have come into existence at all. Bowing and submitting to others is not our wont. When the enemy resorts to challenging the Pakistanis, they do not flinch from offering any sacrifice.

Nuclear account now "fully settled"

"I am fortunate that my people have trust in me... Today we have fully settled the account of the nuclear tests conducted by India recently and have carried out five successful nuclear tests. Millions of thanks to the God that he gave us the ability to carry out the retaliatory tests. Whatever we have done is the decision of the people of Pakistan.

"When you raised the slogan: Take the step Nawaz Sharif, we are with you, it came across my mind that oh God, what step are my people asking me to take. The answer has been found as to what was meant by that step. History has taken us to a decisive crossroad. One way is towards slavery, the other towards freedom...

Sanctions would be "unjustified"

"Now comes the issue of sanctions. First, targeting us for sanctions will not be a justifiable step from any consideration. We waited a long time. If India could have been made an example for starting the dreaded game of destruction and it would have abandoned the aggressive designs and adopted the path of peace, then we would never have carried out the tests which we did today. We were forced to carry out the nuclear explosions for our defence. The world should not believe the Indian declaration that it will not be the first to use the nuclear explosions. Of course, if any one attacks, it will surely use the Big Bomb...

"...if Pakistan is made the target of sanctions like before, I will believe this is the will of God that we ourselves move on the path of self-reliance. This is the way to our well-being. We became a nuclear power when sanctions were imposed on defence items. If economic sanctions are imposed, then, God willing, we will succeed in this sphere as well.

National austerity starts now

"I am with you in this trial. I want to assure you that your government is ending all wastage and pomp and show. All the big government office buildings will be vacated and put at your service. All big official residences will also vacated to put them at your service. Some of them will be made into schools, some will be converted into hospitals, and women's universities will be established in some of them. Some of them will be sold to pay Pakistan's loans.

"I have decided to vacate the magnificent building of the Prime Minister's Secretariat and the government has decided to adopt complete simplicity. The cabinet will decide as to how to use this building for the public interest. You will be glad to know that the president has also joined in these decisions. All provincial governors, chief ministers, federal ministers and advisers, chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force, and high civil and top officials are with the nation in this virtuous task of sacrifices.

Calls for sacrifices

"My dear countrymen. Without sacrifices, no nations can either stand on its feet, or can become strong and worthy of respect. To construct the future, numerous comforts of the present have to be given up. And, what has been our conduct so far. To make our present pleasant, we had mortgaged our future. I wish this day had come earlier so that we could have manage our demands according to our resources.

"The time itself has given us a golden chance to stand on our own feet by giving up the path of borrowing. Let us brace ourselves and if the need arises be ready to even go hungry. We have to change our lives in revolutionary style. Sanctions will be imposed. Hard and difficult times will come. Hardships will increase. But if you keep your morale high and accept the challenge boldly, there is no reason that we will not be successful in this test. This is a chance to show your capabilities. Do not let this chance go to waste, but I would say that we should impose restrictions on ourselves and rely only on our own resources...

Pakistani military ready to "face the enemy"

"By the grace of god, our troops are imbued with the spirit of faith in God and are ready to face the enemy at every front with full determination. Our nuclear scientists and technicians too, by the grace of God, are endowed with divine capabilities and the strength of faith in God. Our nuclear explosions have eradicated the uncertain situation that had been created by the enemy's explosions. The Pakistani nation pays tribute to these great sons of the nation. No enemy, God willing, can carry out cowardly nuclear attack on our country.

'National agenda' to be announced

"I will appear before you within a few days again with a complete national agenda... We had deprived ourselves of our self-reliance by seeking loans from others. The indebted life had dissuaded us from labour and toil and habituated us to an artificial life. The enemy has awakened us by challenging our self-respect. Now we will not look at any outsider. We will depend on our own strength and will seek help only from God...

"Long Live Pakistan."

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