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Bhutto’s Nuclear Program
Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was one of the rare political leaders who had the 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 the sub-continental region. When India started her nuclear program it created a threat for Pakistan so it was Bhutto who initiated the PAK-Nuclear program on a serious note. During the 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 the future proved to be the father institution for Pakistan’s nuclear program.
On 24th January 1972, Bhutto gathered the 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 the South Asian region due to the disturbance in the balance of power. Despite opposition and criticism received from global powers Pakistan stuck to the plan and continued with its policy. Bhutto sought help from China and North Korea to develop nuclear arsenals and also from a 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 center mainly Abdul Qadeer Khan who was specially invited by Bhutto himself. Later he became “Father of Bomb”.
During Bhutto’s era different Uranium enrichment plants were placed in various parts of the 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 the real process started after his arrival. He reached out to the rest of the Islamic world particularly rich oil states of the Middle East, Libya, and Saudi Arabia for monetary support. In the early 1970s, billions of dollars also flowed from Iran and Saudi Arabia to Pakistan. The pro-Islamic or friendly policy of Bhutto towards the Islamic world became the main factor for the financial assistance for Pakistan’s atomic program. Many covert uranium enrichment plants were launched despite resistance and securities of the 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 an atom bomb on 18th may 1974 Pak-Army collaborated with (PAEC) to help the 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.