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Bhutto’s Nuclear Program

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was one of the rare political leaders who had natural instinct and broad vision to read the political situation vigilantly. Bhutto’s shrewdness and farsightedness led Pakistan towards the successful Nuclear Program. The pursuit of Nuclear Technology created hype in the political world especially in sub-continental region. When India started her nuclear program it created a threat for Pakistan so it was Bhutto who initiated PAK-Nuclear program on serious note. During Bhutto regime (1971-1977) it was realized that now the time has come that Pakistan should prepare firm bases for its program. Soon after coming into power as president in December 1971 he started working to establish its nuclear program. In 1956 Pakistan Energy Commission (PAEC) was founded but this department went under serious business under Bhutto which in future proved to be the father institution for Pakistan’s nuclear program.

On 24th January 1972 Bhutto gathered country’s top 50 scientists the purpose was to devise a plan to start a nuclear program for Pakistan. It was an attempt to overcome the polarized situation created in South Asian region due to the disturbance in balance of power. In spite of opposition and criticism received from global powers Pakistan stuck to the plan and continued with her policy. Bhutto sought help from China and North Korea to develop nuclear arsenals and also from Dutch centrifuge firm named Fysscish Dynamisch Onderzoek (FDO). India’s action spurred Bhutto to do so as a reaction. Bhutto’s incentive brought talented and expert people in this field to the centre mainly Abdul Qadeer Khan who was especially invited by Bhutto himself. Later he became “Father of Bomb”.

During Bhutto’s era different Uranium enrichment plants were placed at various parts of country such as; Dera Ghazi Khan, Karachi, Islamabad, Kahuta, and Chaklala etc. These plants started working way before Dr. A.Q Khan’s arrival but real process started after his arrival.  He reached out to the rest of Islamic world particularly rich oil states of Middle East, Libya, and Saudi Arabia for monetary support. In early 1970’s, billions of dollars also flowed from Iran and Saudi Arabia to Pakistan. The pro-Islamic or friendly policy of Bhutto towards Islamic world became the main factor for the financial assistance for Pakistan’s atomic program. Many covert uranium enrichment plants were launched in spite of resistance and securities of USA, United Nations, and other European powers. Surprisingly PAK-Nuclear Program ran secretly without any apparent hindrance. Then Chief of Army staff Gen Zia-ul-Haq was also involved to start this process. After India’s first explosion of atom bomb on 18th may 1974 Pak-Army collaborated with (PAEC) to help Kahuta enrichment plant in 1976.

All the major designs for Pakistan’s Nuclear Program were made by Bhutto, which gave invincibility to Pakistan’s defense.


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