chapter  11
28 Pages

Sarnina Ahmed (1999), 'Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons Program: Turning Points and Nuclear Choices', International Security, 23, pp. 178-204

Pakistan tested a series of nuclear devices on May 28 and 30, 1998, signaling the abandonment of its policy of nuclear ambiguity, which it had adopted in the 1980s.1 Under this policy, Pakistan had neither renounced nor acquired nuclear weapons for overt weaponization. The Pakistani action was motivated primarily by similar tests conducted in India on May 11 and 13, and was taken by Pakistan's nuclear weapons decisionmaking apparatus, comprising the military and the civil bureaucracy, including nuclear scientists. Despite a rigorous debate on the pros and eons of testing, Pakistan's politicalleadership played only a marginal role in determining Islamabad's response. Following the tests, Pakistan laid claim to the status of a nuclear weapons state, with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif declaring, "No matter we are recognized as a nuclear weapons power or not, we are a nuclear power."2