Pakistan has the ability to “target” the Indian capital New Delhi in five minutes and Pakistan is well equipped for that, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan has said.
Khan was a a ddressing a gathering in Islamabad on the 18th anniversary of Pakistan’s first nuclear tests. The tests were were carried out under his supervision in 1998. He said Pakistan could have become a nuclear power as early as 1984 but the then President General Zia ul Haq “opposed the move”.
The 80-year-old nuclear physicist said General Zia, who was Pakistan’s President from 1978 to 1988, opposed the nuclear testing as he believed that the world would intervene militarily.
Further, it would have also curtailed international aid Pakistan was receiving due to the ongoing Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
“We were able and we had a plan to launch nuclear test in 1984. But President General Zia ul Haq had opposed the move,” Khan said Saturday.
He also said that Pakistan has the ability to “target” Delhi from Kahuta near Rawalpindi in five minutes.
Kahuta is the home to the Kahuta Research Laboratories (KRL), Pakistan’s key uranium enrichment facility, linked to the atomic bomb project.
In 2004 Khan was disgraced and he was forced to accept responsibility for nuclear technology proliferation and was forced to live a life of official house arrest. In 2009, the Islamabad High Court declared Khan to be a free citizen of Pakistan, allowing him free movement inside the country. He regretted the treatment and said Pakistan would never have achieved the feat of becoming first Muslim nuclear country without his “services”.
“Without my services Pakistan would never have been the first Muslim nuclear nation. We were able to achieve the capability under very tough circumstances, but we did it,” said Khan.