Skip to content

Pakistan Atomic Power Essays

Atomic energy or nuclear enrgy is the energy stored in the nucleus of an atom. It is released through the process of fissuion, fusion or radioactivity. In these prcoesses, a small amount of mass converted into energy. This device which is used for producing the energy is called nuclear reactor. The branch of knowledge which deals with nuclear energy is called "nuclear physics".

Nuclear reacoters are used for the purpose of power production. The reactor is constructed in such a way that the fission of atomic nuclei produces a nuclear chain reactions. The neutrons that are produced in this way are able to spilt other nuclei. Uranium or plutonium is used as a fuel. These reactions produces energy. This energy can be used in positve ways as well as negative ways. The negative uses of nuclear energy are highly destructive. Atomic bombs are the deadliest of all the weapons. They can kill millions of human beings in flash.

Nuclear energy is usually used for constructive purposes only. It is a main source of producing electricity. We have a nuclear power plant in karachi for generating electricity. Pakistan was always determined to use nuclear power for constructive purposes but in the late nineties the geo-political situation in our region changed. India conducted a series of atomic explosions in Rajihistan, not far away from the pakistan border. Since then the tone of the indian government totally changed and it started official threats to Pakistan. So our government thought it proper to pay back in the same coin.

On the 28th May, 1998, at 3.15pm there was a biggest explosion at Chaghi, Balcohistan, Pakistan ever in our national history. The black mountains turned white. Everywhere in Pakistan there were slogans of "Allah-o-Akbar". This was the day when our political and millitary leadership and scientists displayed unmatched courage. By the grace of Allah Almighty, Pakistan emerged as the first Islamic Atomic Power. Pakistan was ackowledge as the sevent country in the world as a nuclear power after America, England, France, Russia And china.

It was definitely a great moment in our history. This day gave us confindence and real strength. THis day made us really great. So every yer we celebrate the 28th of May as the Takbir Day. We hold functions and offer prayers. We express our gratitude to the Supreme Ruler, Allah Almighty. Every Pakistani is fully charged in thi sday. We pay homage to our scientists Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, Dr. Samar Mubarak and their members of their team. We feel really proud of our great and devoted workers who had been working on this project secretly for the last twenty-five years. We will remember them forever for giving Pakistan nuclear streangth.

Pakistan nuclear abiltiy marks the begining of the revival of the islamic power. Pakistan has always been the champion of te islamic brotherhood. It has advocated the cause of the muslims world on the every forum. Our nation is one with all the muslims. So this act was a matter of great satisfaction to all the Islamic forever for giving Pakistan nuclear power. They are being slaugthered everywhere. Pakistan's atomic explosions have strenthened the Islamic Ummah.

Pakistan had to pay the heavy price for acheiving this goal. Heavy sanctions were imposed on us. Financial aids and grants were withdran. The balance between our imports and exports was also shaken. This disturbed the economic infranstructure of our country because we heavily depend on these things. But in spite of all this our nation remained determined. We faed problems but we were satisfied. Our national pride had been ensured and for us this thing is superior to any material gain.

The final conclusion is that these difficulties cannot bow us down. We are an independent nation and we want to live with our eago unhurt.

Read More About Pakistan's People Culture, History And Vip Personalities

Eating Grass: The Making of the Pakistani Bomb
Feroz H. Khan (Stanford: Stanford UP, 2012)

Developed in secrecy and tested in defiance, Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program has been a point of pride for Pakistanis, a worrisome portent for Indians, a source of profit for nuclear proliferators, and a security concern for US policymakers. While much is feared, little is really known about Pakistan’s nuclear program. Retired Brigadier General Feroz Khan’s Eating Grass (the title comes from a 1965 statement by Pakistan’s then Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto proclaiming that if India acquired the bomb, so would Pakistan, even if it had to “eat grass, or leaves or even go hungry”) is important because it presents a complete account of Pakistan’s quest for nuclear weapons, with close focus on the role played by culture, personality, domestic, regional, and global politics, and technical challenges in the development of the “Islamic Bomb.”

The book’s author is a former Pakistan Army officer and senior official in the National Command Authority. Khan was not only a key policymaker in Pakistan’s nuclear command and control system, but played important roles in negotiations with American and Indian officials over the nuclear program, especially regarding Pakistan’s force posture.

Related Essay

Pakistan’s Balochistan Problem

Aurangzaib Alamgir | essay

We have removed “Pakistan’s Balochistan Problem” by Aurangzaib Alamgir from this space after confirming that the author copied, without attribution, significant portions of an article by Mr. Eddie Walsh of Georgetown University, that appeared previously an Al Jazeera article entitled, “Should the US support an independent Balochistan”. We thank Mr. Walsh for alerting us and we extend our apologies to him for inadvertently publishing an article that plagiarized his work.

Drawing on primary and secondary sources, his own experiences, and numerous interviews with decisionmakers and former scientists who were intimately involved in the program, Khan recapitulates Pakistan’s nuclear journey. He analyzes key decisions by its leaders that shaped the trajectory of Pakistan’s strategic capabilities and its foreign relations, bureaucratic disputes over the program, and competition between actors in the scientific community trying to put their individual stamp on the bomb.

Shehzad H. Qazi is a research associate at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.

Eating Grass begins in the 1960s, during General Ayub Khan’s military dictatorship, when many Pakistani leaders were reluctant to pursue nuclear weapons because they felt the country could not afford them. The author then provides a blow-by-blow account of several major decisions that created a weapons program, and then the cold tests in 1983, and finally the testing of the bomb itself in 1998.

Inside this chronology, Khan also explores the technological and capacity challenges Pakistani scientists faced, especially as the global nonproliferation regime made nuclear trade increasingly difficult. He details how they developed uranium enrichment and plutonium production capabilities and the secret procurement networks to supply the clandestine program. Along the way, Khan reveals the intense rivalry that developed between the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and the Khan Research Laboratories to develop and claim credit for the weapon.

The role of foreign countries was a significant part of this nuclear journey. Once Canada stopped supplying nuclear technology, Pakistan received loans and investments worth hundreds of millions of dollars from Libya, along with yellowcake from Niger and uranium from Chad. China provided high enriched uranium and a bomb design, and helped in missile production.

No history of Pakistan’s march toward nuclearization would be complete, of course, without the sub-narrative of complications caused in relations between Pakistan and the US, which was initially strongly opposed to the nuclear program, but later became covertly complicit in it, only subsequently to punish Pakistan and ultimately grudgingly accept its membership in the international nuclear club.

Khan also discusses Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine, the development of its command and control system, and the way the notorious scientist A.Q. Khan became the government’s proliferator in chief, selling Pakistan’s nuclear innovations to the North Koreans, Iranians, and others.

The fundamental question driving this book is why Pakistan decided to acquire nuclear weapons in the first place. Khan attributes this decision to “Pakistan’s unique strategic culture”—that is, the beliefs, values, and historical experiences of the ruling elite that influenced how it perceives and responds to the security environment. He contends that the defeat and dismemberment of Pakistan in the 1971 war and India’s 1974 nuclear tests, which altered the balance of power, became central components of Pakistan’s strategic culture, leading to the perception that nuclear weapons were a national necessity.

But between the lines of the book is a slightly different story: that domestic politics rather than national security per se was key to the decision to go forward with a nuclear program. As Scott Sagan, a renowned scholar of nuclear weapons, has argued, countries acquire nuclear weapons because individuals within the nuclear energy establishment and research laboratories (who benefit financially and in terms of prestige), the military, and political leaders become chief advocates for acquisition of these weapons, seeing them as tools to accomplish parochial political or bureaucratic goals.

In the case at hand, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the prime minister (1973–77) who made the decision to go nuclear, already belonged to a coalition comprising PAEC scientists and some foreign-ministry bureaucrats who had been strongly advocating such a capability since at least 1965. By the time he took office, the military was also on board. Thus the desire to pursue nuclear weapons predated the 1971 war or India’s 1974 tests. In Khan’s own words, with Bhutto’s rise, “the bomb lobby was now in power.”

According to weapons specialist Bhumitra Chakma, Pakistan’s nuclear program has faced two key challenges: the absence of a formally declared nuclear doctrine, including ambiguity about the “redline risks” that could prompt use, and the lack of an institutionalized and transparent command and control system.

Pakistan’s ten-point nuclear doctrine is India-focused, and has three major principles: minimum credible deterrence, nuclear first use, and massive retaliation. While arguing that counterforce targeting is increasingly becoming a principle for both Pakistan and India, Khan also reports that Pakistan is operationalizing its minimal deterrence concept by continually improving its delivery means, by inducting ballistic and cruise missiles, and by developing a second-strike capability.

What’s missing in this book is an investigation into Pakistan’s redline risks beyond what is already known. Khan states that the nuclear program has two objectives: deterring India from overwhelming Pakistan with a conventional attack and using nuclear weapons in the event of an Indian invasion, the sizable destruction of its armed forces, or Indian-perpetrated political destabilization and economic strangulation. While Khan acknowledges that these criteria are “deliberately imprecise,” the ambiguity, he argues, is a non-issue because with “the unlikelihood of Pakistan’s accepting a no-first-use policy, the doctrinal puzzle of the Pakistani nuclear program is put to rest.”

But the author does provide an insightful analysis of the most critical issue: Pakistan’s nuclear command and control architecture. Since 2000 the National Command Authority, composed of chief civilian and military leaders, has been responsible for decisionmaking on the program’s policy, planning, procurement, and use. Nevertheless this oversight and control system was developed almost forty-five years after the weapons program began. The author attributes A. Q. Khan’s ability to erect an alternative universe of proliferation to this absence of oversight, explaining that Khan’s significant autonomy in secretly procuring nuclear technology for Pakistan and immunity from regularly reporting to a government body allowed his private and illicit operations to go undetected.

In the aftermath of the “Khan Network” fiasco, Pakistan revised its export control laws, while the Strategic Plans Division (SPD) began using assessment tools, such as Personnel and Human Reliability Programs, to screen personnel, and created a security force with an intelligence unit to counter assaults, espionage, and other threats against nuclear installations and weapons.

But while the author describes the reforms in command and control, explains that Pakistan undertakes a variety of assessments to ensure the “secrecy, dispersal, and survivability” of its strategic weapons against foreign attacks, and mentions that safety measures are in place for weapons storage and transport, he inexplicably fails to address directly the threat of terrorists acquiring Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and materials, perhaps the greatest concern among US and international policymakers today.

There has been a steady accumulation of books on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, ranging from accounts by former Pakistani military officers giving their views about why Pakistan sought the bomb, to academic analyses exploring nuclear deterrence and stability in South Asia, to journalistic accounts focusing on Pakistan’s covert acquisition of nuclear technology, the Khan Network’s proliferation, and America’s secret compliance in exchange for assistance during the Soviet-Afghan war and the War on Terror.

Khan’s book is a bit of all of this, framed by an insider account of Pakistani decisionmaking that can help policymakers better understand how Pakistani leaders thought through some of the most crucial decisions of the country’s history, what assumptions they made, and how they view the world. A nuanced narrative accessible to a general readership, Eating Grass is a comprehensive study on how and why Pakistan went nuclear.