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30-05-1998

07/0800 HOURS OF 30-5-1998 (SATURDAY)

CABINET : The Prime Minister Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has said that Pakistan was left with no option but to conduct nuclear tests for maintaining balance of power in the region.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting in Islamabad Friday, Mr. Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan had shown maximum restraint and patience over two weeks after India conducted nuclear blasts but India had started vitiating the atmosphere by blatantly threatening the security of Pakistan which necessitated a proper response from it.

He dismissed the impression that it was " tit for tat " reaction and said the test was carefully considered and well thought out decision taken in the larger national interest and preservance of peace in the region.

The Prime Minister said Pakistan was grateful to all those friendly countries which expressed their grave concern and sympathy for Pakistan and extended moral support to our principled stand.

The Cabinet congratulated the Prime Minister for taking final decision to conduct nuclear tests which became essential for the security of the country and restoration of balance of power in the region.

It also appreciated the decision of the Prime Minister of vacating the Prime Minister Secretariat and shifting to a smaller and simpler building. The cabinet was of the view that the nation was ready to make any sacrifice to preserve its security, honour and dignity. It resolved to overcome all difficulties and meet the challenges with courage and grace.

The Prime Minister urged the Ministers to motivate the people to rise to the occasion and make efforts to achieve self-reliance in all spheres of life which is the only solution to countryís economic problems to make Pakistan a great country.

GOHAR : The Foreign Minister Mr. Gohar Ayub Khan has said the decision of carrying out nuclear tests by Pakistan was taken by the government after having national consensus on the issue.

In an interview with the CNN, the Foreign Minister said Pakistan would continue to do whatever is in its national interest. He denied suggestions that the Prime Minister has indicated ending of further nuclear tests.

Mr. Gohar Ayub said there is no problem of putting war heads on the missiles by Pakistan. He stressed that Pakistanís missile is capable of carrying nuclear war heads up to 1500 kilometre range.

He also gave an account how Pakistan was dragged into the situation and recounted how India first exploded its nuclear bomb in 1974 and earlier this month.

He termed the Indian nuclear tests and subsequent provocative statements by Indian leaders as undeclared war against Pakistan.

In response to a question, whether Pakistan can survive the sanctions, Mr. Gohar Ayub Said that with determination and will of the people we will survive the sanctions and emerge stronger from this ordeal.

BERGER : The US National Security Advisor Mr. Samuel Berger has admitted that Pakistanís nuclear tests came in the face of provocation from India.

In an interview on Thursday Mr. Berger said that the United States will continue its efforts to reduce the tension in South Asia.

PAEC-TEST : Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission has announced that the 5 nuclear tests conducted on Thursday measured up to 5 on Richter Scale and were a total success and completely safe with no release of radiation.

The Commission in a statement said although the reported yield figures are up to 40 kilo tonnes (equivalent to TNT).

The scientists group monitoring radiation in the area confirmed no release of radiation in the environment and the tests were declared completely safe and a total success.

KASHMIR - WEEK : In occupied Kashmir, liberation activists and youth organizations have announced to observe a Jashan Week to demonstrate joy and happiness over Pakistanís successful nuclear tests.

President of the Kashmiri Women Organization, Dukhtaran-e-Millat, Asia Andrabi has congratulated Pakistan on the nuclear tests which she described as success of the entire Muslim Ummah.

The supreme commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, Syed Salahuddin also congratulated Pakistan for the successful nuclear tests which he said was a guarantee for the security of Muslim Ummah.

Political observers in Srinagar are unanimous in their assessment that Indian nuclear tests had not only affected the balance of power in South Asia, but had also imbalanced the mind-set of the Indian rulers.

WELCOME : People belonging to different segments of life have welcomed Prime Minsterís appeal for austerity.

The business community has welcomed the appeal and assured full co-operation in making austerity drive a success.

The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce passed a resolution urging people to minimise use of imported goods particularly consumption of tea to save precious foreign exchange.

The Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry has also urged traders to pay their taxes and dues in time to overcome the situation arising out of nuclear tests.

Meanwhile, a trader of Rawalpindi presently residing in Hong Kong Mr. Habibur Rehman has announced donation of 10,000 US dollars for nuclear fund of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.

BANKS : All the scheduled commercial banks will resume normal operations Saturday after observing a holiday Friday on the instructions of the government.

Meanwhile, the State Bank has withdrawn the circular under which it suspended licences of money changers.

It also modified the rules pertaining to maintenance and operation of foreign currency accounts in the country.

Under the new notification issued in Karachi Friday, present foreign currency account holders can withdraw their cash in Pakistani rupees. Payments in such cases may be made at the rate of 46.00 rupees per dollar.

Henceforth, no foreign currency accounts will be opened in the name of resident Pakistani nationals, resident firms and companies including foreign controlled companies functioning in Pakistan.


21/2200 HOURS OF 29-5-1998 (FRIDAY)

SARTAJ: Finance Minister Sartaj Aziz has ruled out imposition of any financial emergency in the country in the wake of five nuclear tests and said there is no restriction on opening of LCs for imports and repatriation of profits, dividends and royalties from Pakistan.

He was addressing a news conference in Islamabad Friday afternoon. He pointed out that restriction imposed on withdrawal from foreign currency accounts is temporary. However there is no restraint on withdrawal of amounts in rupee from banking accounts for which the government is ready to pay 46 rupee per dollar, about 2 rupee more than the official conversion rate.

He appealed to Pakistanis holding foreign currency accounts to convert their money in local currency and invest in defence savings certificate and other such schemes which offer attractive rate of return.

To a question, he said Pakistanis hold an amount of 6.9 billion dollars in their foreign currency accounts while the amount of non-resident Pakistanis was 2.5 billion dollars. The Finance Minister announced that money changers would be allowed to resume their business as usual as of Saturday.

The Finance Minister announced that the budget for the next financial year is being unveiled on the 13th of next month. It would spell out adjustments necessary to cope with the sanctions including reduction in expenditure and curtailment of imports to reduce deficit in balance of payments.

The Finance Minister said the full impact of sanctions depends on their nature, scope and duration. He said if pipeline aid of 9 billion dollars continue and World Bank and IMF do not extend any loan then the impact of sanctions would be to the tune 1.5 billion dollars. He said this can be offset by cutting imports by about 12 per cent.

SHAMSHAD : Pakistan has declared that its nuclear weapons capability is meant solely for national defence and it will never be used for offensive purposes.

This was stated by Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmad while briefing Islamabad-based Ambassadors and heads of diplomatic missions on the rationale for the Pakistan decision about the nuclear tests.

He said the decision to weaponise our nuclear programme was dictated by the imperative need to preserve regional peace and security that was gravely threatened by Indiaís overt weaponization and the constitutional collapse of the existential deterrence.

He said Indian leadership after carrying out a whole range of nuclear tests threatened Pakistan with nuclear blackmail to impose a military solution to the Kashmir issue.

PRAYERS : Thanks-giving prayers were offered Friday at Juma congregations throughout the country for Pakistanís outstanding success in carrying out 5 nuclear tests to ensure national security and uphold its honour.

Ulema in their speeches stressed the need to follow the principles of Islam and lead a life of austerity dedicated to the service of Din and the country. They highlighted the importance of Jehad in the face of Indian aggression. They paid rich tributes to the Prime Minister Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Services Chiefs and renowned Pakistani scientist Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan for successfully carrying out the nuclear explosions.

JUBILATION : More reports have been received about jubilations across the country and abroad over Pakistanís 5 successful nuclear explosions.

Pakistanis in UAE have hailed nuclear tests by Pakistan and paid rich tributes to Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan and his team of scientists for accomplishing this great task.

In a joint statement in Abu Dhabi Friday, the President Pakistan Muslim League UAE, Mr. Muhammad Ayaz Shaheen Awan and Vice President Mr. Muhammad Akbar Shinwari said India had left no alternative for Pakistan but to demonstrate its nuclear capability to defend its sacred soil.

In Bangladesh, people from all walks of life heartily welcomed Pakistanís nuclear tests.

DEMONSTRATION : In occupied Kashmir, anti-India demonstrations were held in Ganderbal area against killing in custody of a youth, Muhammad Ashraf. A student Muhammad Ramzan was shot dead by troops during crack down in Handwara area. Siege and search operations were also carried out at various places in Srinagar, Baramula, Rafiabad and Kupwara and a number of innocent people were arrested. A young girl was abducted by troops from her house in Pattan area and her whereabouts are not known.

The APHC has sharply reacted against military violence in Rafiabad, in Baramula district on the Sikh population who have been refusing to help troops in suppressing the liberation movement.

Freedom fighters clashed with troops in Handwara, Bandipura, Rajauri and Poonch areas, inflicting heavy losses on troops.