0700/0800 HRS 31-05-1998

07/0800 HOURS OF 31-5-1998(SUNDAY)

PM: PM ADDRESS: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has said that Pakistanís decision to exercise nuclear option has been taken in the best interest of national self-defence.

Addressing a big gathering outside Masjid-e-Shuhahda after leading a big procession in Lahore Saturday night, the Prime Minister said that nuclear tests were conducted successfully and results were as expected. He said these had become inevitable for defence and security after the Indian nuclear blasts and subsequent statements by the Indian leaders.

Referring to the situation created by the Indian nuclear tests, the Prime Minister said that various countries had offered an economic package worth billions of dollars to restrain Pakistan from nuclear tests. The Prime Minister said despite many offers and pressures, Pakistan did not compromise on its security concerns and defence needs and decided to show out capabilities as a dignified nation. He said not only the whole nation but also the whole Islamic Ummah hailed Pakistan for its great achievement and expressed their happiness over the decision.

Mr. Nawaz Sharif said if sanctions are imposed on Pakistan, the country would have to walk on a path of self-reliance which will ultimately lead it to the road of prosperity.

He called upon the people to remain united and play their role for the solidarity, integrity and prosperity of the country and remain ready for all types of sacrifices.

He assured the people that the government would stop forthwith all of its wasteful expenditures and observe complete austerity at the official level.

The Prime Minister asked those who had borrowed billions of rupees from the banks to return the national wealth and warned the tax evaders to give up their anti-national habits and pay taxes regularly. He assured the mammoth crowd that every penny will be recovered from those who plundered the national wealth mercilessly.

GOHAR-CNN: Talking to CNN after Pakistan conducted another nuclear test Foreign Minister Gohar Ayub Khan said Pakistan now can be proud of the fact that the strategic and military balance that had unfortunately been tilted is now in favour of Pakistan.

The Foreign Minister said Pakistan had been warning the International community about the seriousness of the situation but they turned a blind eye and Pakistan had to do what was necessary.

QADEER: Eminent Scientist Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan has said Pakistanís nuclear devices can easily be converted into weapons when the security of the country demands.

He told CNN in an interview that these devices are compact, highly efficient weapons system and can be quite easily used on Aeroplanes and Missiles. To a question about the efficiency of Ghauri Missile, he said it has a perfect delivery system with very good accuracy.

KARAMAT: Chief of the Army Staff, General Jehangir Karamat has said that Pakistanís nuclear tests have corrected the strategic imbalance in the region and further build-up solely depended on Indiaís weaponization programme. He made these observations while attending a presentation at the National Defence College Saturday.

MEDAL: Pakistan Engineering Council has announced a Gold Meal for Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan in recognition of his services for the development of nuclear technology in the country.

HOME REACTION: Leaders of public opinion have hailed the successful completion of the series of nuclear tests by Pakistan.

They said these tests would not trigger arms race in the region rather deter India from aggression.

They emphasised that nuclear tests were necessary for peace in the region.

The PPP Chairperson Benazir Bhutto in an interview called upon the international community to focus on the cause of tension between India and Pakistan and not just on the nuclear explosions.

CBR: The Central Board of Revenue has made arrangements with designated branches of National Bank of Pakistan to remain open Sunday for receiving payment of all federal duties and taxes.

All Sales Tax collectorates shall also remain open Sunday to facilitate the tax payers.

KASHMIR: The Kashmir High Court Bar Association has emphasised the need for speedy settlement of Kashmir issue.

In a statement in Srinagar Saturday the Bar Association said Pakistan was left with no choice other than conducting nuclear test after Indian nuclear tests. It described Pakistan atomic devices as timely and congratulated the country over its nuclear capability.

21/2200 HOURS OF 30-5-1998(SATURDAY)

TEST: Pakistan successfully conducted another nuclear test, at 11.55 Saturday morning. Announcing this at a news conference in Islamabad, Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmad said with this Pakistan has completed the current series of 6 nuclear tests.

He said all the tests were fully contained and there was no release of radio-activity. The results were as expected.

The Foreign Secretary also announced that the devices tested correspond to weapons configuration, compatible with the delivery systems.

Giving rationale of Pakistanís decision to go nuclear, the foreign Secretary said being neighbour of an expansionist and a hegemonistic power Pakistan got only one less on that the answer lay in credible deterrence.

Referring to non-proliferation policy being championed by world powers, he said there was need that the real causes of insecurity, conflicts and tension in our region should be redressed. It is imperative to find a peaceful and just solution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

Mr. Shamshad Ahmad said Pakistanís decision to exercise the nuclear option was in self defence. In restoring the strategic balance, Pakistan has given only a bare minimum response.

The Foreign Secretary made it clear that Pakistan has no intention to enter into an arms race. We are determined to seek ways and means to cool the temperature and lower the tension.

He assured that as before Pakistan will continue to exercise maximum restraint. Pakistan is prepared to enter into discussions with India for taking all steps necessary to ensure mutual restraint and equitable measures for nuclear stabilization in our region.

The Foreign Secretary assured the international community, particularly India that Pakistan was willing to enter into immediate discussions to address all matters of peace and security including urgent measures to prevent the dangers of nuclear conflagration.

Asked about Pakistanís position on CTBT, he said the relevance and efficacy of global non-proliferation regimes is now questionable because of their irrelevance to the new reality of nuclearised South Asia. He said we are fully prepared to engage constructively on all these issues. He said as Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests have drastically altered the security environment, Pakistan is closely re-evaluating its position.

To another question, he categorically stated that Pakistan has a very effective control and command system to handle nuclear weapons.

PM-PRESS: The Prime Minister Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has said Pakistan is fully aware of its defence needs and will never compromise on its security concerns at any cost.

Addressing a news conference on his arrival from Islamabad at Lahore airport Saturday evening, the Prime Minister said that nuclear tests conducted by Pakistan were in response to Indian nuclear explosions and we want to realize the India and whole world about our capability as sovereign, independent, preservance and dignified country.

The Prime Minister said that Pakistan has informed the whole world well in time about the Indian aggressive designs but unfortunately no country took it seriously. He said the Indian nuclear tests were not only a matter of grave concern for Pakistan but it were also a threat for the security of the region. He said Pakistan has decided for the nuclear tests after taking all prose and cons of the situation as Pakistan was not unaware of its security.

He said that Pakistan is ready to start negotiations with India but reiterated that without solving the core issue of Kashmir negotiations will be meaningless.

He also called upon the United Nations to play its due role for solving the major issues on priority basis to avoid tension in South Asia.

PM ARRIVAL: A Rousing and enthusiastic welcome was accorded to the Prime Minister when he arrived at Lahore airport from Islamabad Saturday evening.

KASHMIR: In occupied Kashmir, expression of jubilation continued over Pakistanís nuclear tests. People exchanged congratulations and distributed sweets.

NEC: The National Economic Council which met in Islamabad Saturday under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif approved the 1998-99 annual plan.

The Council was informed that the various packages announced by the government last year for boosting the industrial and agricultural output have given high dividends. The growth rate of GDP increased to 5.4 percent during 1997-98. This is the highest growth rate of the economy for the last 6 years.

The inflation rate has been brought down to 8.5 percent which is the lowest in the nineties. The budget deficit was reduced to 5.4 percent of GDP which is also one of the lowest since the early eighties.

The NEC also approved public sector development programme of 110.6 billion rupees compared to 90 billion public sector development programme for 1997-98. The Provincial PSDP has increased from 26 billion rupees to 32 billion rupees.

The exports have grown at a rate of 4.9 percent and with a decline in the imports by 10.3 percent, the current account deficit has been brought down to 1.47 billion dollars which is the lowest over the last 15 years.

The Annual Plan for 1998-99 envisages a growth rate of 6 percent while the inflation rate will be brought down further to 8 percent.

The NEC decided to impose a 50 percent cut on all expenditures except development and the salary components of government departments, autonomous bodies and corporations.

While addressing the National Economic Council, the Prime Minister called upon the provinces and the Federal Government to launch a self reliance programme and stop dependence on foreign aid and loans.

PRESIDENT: President Muhammad Rafiq Tarar has asked the nation to observe strict austerity and work to achieve self sufficiency.

Opening the Gujranwal Branch of the State Bank Saturday he also referred to the loans recovery drive started by the government and said the defaulters regardless of status or political links will not be spared. Mr. Muhammad Rafiq Tarar stressed that the loan evasion culture can only be changed by strengthening the legal system and speedy court settlements.

NA: The National Assembly has been summoned at 5.00 p.m. on Friday next in Islamabad.