Pakistan’s nuclear explosions and its ill-effects on occupied Balochistan

Baloch children affected with nuclear radiation related diseases.
Baloch children affected with nuclear radiation related diseases.

Article Research: Zrumbesh Literary Forum

This article illustrates the background of Pakistan’s nuclear explosions and how those nuclear tests continue to bring misery for the Baloch.
Background of Nuclear Explosions
Reasons behind Pakistan’s five simultaneous nuclear explosions on May 28th, 1998
What are the miseries and agony of Baloch people?
Why are the impact on the global community?

Historical Background of Pakistan’s Nuclear Program
According to a report published in BBC, in 1954 a meeting took place between Prime minister of Pakistan Mr. M.A Bogara and American President of that time Mr. Eisenhower in White House. In this meeting, alongside declaration of its inclusion with United States project “Atom for Peace”, Pakistan also announced to establish an Atomic Energy Commission to make research and development in atomic energy sector.

It was the first step of Pakistan to get nuclear weapons and it proceeded to complete the project on May 28th 1998 leaving Baloch people in extreme misery and agony.

In the same year (1954), two very important military agreements “SEATO and CENTO” were signed amongst Pakistan and United states, by which United States will send weapons to Pakistan and in return Pakistan will allow United States to establish military bases in its state territory.

Astonishingly when in the 1960s India was engaged in the preparations for nuclear tests, Pakistan candidly declined its own nuclear program. This is utterly false. As was revealed later in another BBC Urdu report that explained how Pakistan was making steady progress in its Nuclear Program. However, a part of Pakistani establishment was not in the favor of Nuclear program because they were under pressure from United States.

There is no denying the fact that on open forums international organizations have always opposed nuclear tests, therefore it was not feasible for USA and Pakistan to make such an agreement openly. However, USA’s intentions clearly indicate that it had given assent for Pakistan’s nuclear program.

It is about those days when cold-war was at its zenith. World was divided into socialist and capitalist alliances. In 1955, Soviet Union and Afghanistan had a deal of mutual-coordination under which Soviet Union was to establish development projects in the Afghanistan. This move had become intolerable for USA. A hypothesis had become famous that Soviet Union wants access the hot waterways including Gwadar through Afghanistan. Capitalist states believed this notion and in order to restrict Soviet Union within Afghanistan they pushed cold war to its peak and Pakistan became a pawn in this design as Pakistani was available at very cheap rates!

India on the contrary is second largest market and population of the world. India, after gaining independence from British colonial rule, was seen not as a reliable buddy for the west due to its inclination towards social reforms and socialism. There was also an assumption that if India gains power in the region it may be able to realise its idea of “Akhand Bharat”—entire Indian subcontinent, and west will lose sentinel of its interests—Pakistan in the region. It is also possible that phratry of India with Soviet Union will harm western interests in the region. Here arises a question.

Despite this why did USA oppose the Nuclear Program of Pakistan?
Actually, in those days, the relations between Pakistan and USA were quite tense. USA considered India to be a trustworthy ally as compared to Pakistan. Despite repeated requests from Pakistani regime USA did not help Pakistan in the 1965 and 1971 wars against India. When in 1968 France proffered Pakistan to set up atomic reprocessing plant, the then president of Pakistan Mr. Ayub Khan could not sustain American opposition and French offer proffer was wasted. It is said that French offered to set up atomic reprocessing plant in Pakistan as they felt Pakistan has reached quite close to the process.

When Bhutto regime began, he started working on Pakistan’s atomic program from the very beginning. He suspended the former team and summoned Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan (an atomic scientist) who was in Holland. For financial assistance Mr. Bhutto made an emergency visit to Islamic countries and despite American pressure he inaugurated Pakistan’s Atomic Program. Mr. Bhutto could not complete the project as by that time Pakistan did not have enough quantity of enriched Uranium for the project.

When in 1977 Bhutto’s throne was overturned and military directly usurped the government, a new chapter of USA–Pakistan relationships was opened. ISI (Pakistan’s spy agency) and CIA (USA’s s spy agency) started training worldwide Islamic extremists in Pakistan and sending them into Afghanistan in the name of “Jihad”—the so-called struggle. And so the famous “Jihad” was fought against Afghanistan government and its ally Soviet Union. As long as Soviet soldiers existed in Afghanistan, Pakistan was the earnest and heartfelt ally of western block. It’s amazing that for the “democracy obsessed” west, military dictatorship in Pakistan was acceptable. During this time Pakistan speeded up its efforts to continue its Nuclear Program.

According to Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, Pakistan had acquired the capability to make a Nuclear Bomb by 1984. It was the time when Afghanistan due to Pakistan and USA’s intervention was on the wink of its destruction. By the annihilation of Afghanistan, the inveterate fantasy—the long-termed goal of USA and western block to constrain Soviet Union’s access to the hot waterways had been achieved. By now Pakistan was an efficient partner of USA to accomplish its regional interests, that’s why USA did not oppose nuclear program of Pakistan. Pakistan did not carry out its nuclear explosion tests those days as its traditional rival India was not taking any steps overtly in this regard, and Pakistan and USA were engaged in the war against Soviet Union. Pakistan and USA were afraid that if Pakistan carries out its nuclear tests then Soviet Union might attain more compassion from the international community. Therefore, Pakistan avoided nuclear tests at that time, and exactly 20 years later on May 28th 1998, Pakistan blew up the trumpet upon Baloch nation and carried out its nuclear tests in Chaghi district of occupied Balochistan.

Baloch leadership’s stance on Pakistan’s Nuclear Program

Responding to the question “Whether Pakistan’s Nuclear Program is compatible with global principles?” Mr. Khalil, former chairperson of Baloch National Movement (BNM) said: “Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) which was established in 1996, is the largest organization regarding prevention of nuclear tests. It has an ambition to curb all sorts of atomic tests, but Pakistan did not sign this treaty. Second agreement is Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that aims to denuclearize the entire world for global peace. Pakistan is not a participant of that too. Therefore, I infer that Nuclear Program of Pakistan and its explosions in Balochistan, are against global principles.”

In regards to global powers and organizations Mr. Khalil Baloch said, “I do not think without USA’s assent Pakistan could take such a gigantic step as Pakistan and USA in those days were on the same page and both were fighting against Soviet Union in Afghanistan. I think Pakistan had acquired atomic power capability by 1984 but due to fear of severe response from the Soviet Union, USA might have held up (Pakistan) from conducting nuclear explosions. Yes it’s important that Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) did not consider Pakistan eligible for any kind of immunity and Pakistan could not acquire its membership till present day, and in 2015 Pakistan was notified on the request of Marshal Republic of Ireland.”

On the question that why Balochistan was chosen for Pakistan’s nuclear tests Mr Khalil Baloch said: “…there can be no second opinion that Balochistan mainland is of great importance for Pakistan. Pakistan has always plundered Balochistan and its resources and there is no significance of Baloch people for it… and Pakistan’s nuclear tests were aimed at destruction of the Baloch. As long as the sword of slavery hangs upon us, Pakistan’s never-ending oppression will continue.”

Former chairperson of Baloch Students Organization — BSO (AZAD) Mr. Bashir Zeb Baloch stated that “Pakistan’s Nuclear Program is contrarian to all global principles, rather it comes in the category of war crimes. Pakistan carried out its nuclear explosions in RASKOH, which lies between three major cities Kharan, Noushaki and Dalbandin, which severely damaged small towns and shattered villages. The inhabitants of these towns and villages are bearing the brunt of terrible ill effects till the present day. They are suffering from different infectious diseases and the children born here are palsied and disabled.”

Mr Bashir Zeb added that “Pakistan carried out it nuclear tests to blackmail the world including its conventional rival India. Mr. Bashir Zeb explained that Pakistan’s narrative that “…nuclear weapons of Pakistan can at any time go into the bloody hands of terrorists” is an open threat to the world that if world takes any tough step against Pakistan then these nuclear weapons can go into the bloody hands of extremists. It only indicates that Pakistan is openly threatening the world that in such case Pakistan will hand over its nuclear weapons to the terrorists. Pakistan has no such deeds which are not negatively affecting the world especially Asia. Pakistan has played a key role in proliferating nuclear weapons and Uranium enrichment in the entire region. Disclosures and confessions of Dr. Abdul Qadeer are clear validations in this regard.”

Pakistan's nuclear tests on May 28, 1998 at Chagi, Balochistan has created serious health problems for Baloch people.
Pakistan’s nuclear tests on May 28, 1998 at Chagi, occupied Balochistan has created serious health problems for Baloch people.

Impacts on occupied Balochistan

Effects of atomic radiation are deadly and detrimental to human beings. In this regard a prominent member of World Health Organization (WHO) Dr. Paulo says “…butcher all the suspected animals that are affected by radiation. All the plants, herbs and all green stuff which have absorbed water, and fish of the area comes in the same category. To avoid the inclusion of radiated fish, fruits, vegetables, animal meat and milk from human diet radiation should be measured and a citadel should be set up around the entire area from where radiation is zero.” From this statement we can guestimate about how disastrous is nuclear radiation for living beings especially humans.

Dr. Paulo further says “…people who have been infected by radiation should remain under care of doctors for the next five to ten years and in some cases even longer than that.” (Dr. Paulo have compiled this information after a nuclear accident in a Japanese plant). Besides this, ailments include cancer, tumor, respiratory disease like asthma, birth of disabled children, miscarriages and infertility. If these ailments can wrap a developed country than how can an undeveloped country like Pakistan remain safe. Secondarily Pakistan’s behavior towards Balochistan has always been tyrannical and despotic therefore hope for any arrangements and preventive measurements from a master is rewardless. Pakistan has been giving us one-way trip to the shambles.

Zarumbish Literary Forum interviewed those unfortunate people who went through this fury. Please read their stories.

  • Muhammad Noor a resident of Chatar mountain range was forced to migrate from Raskoh Noushki. “…after the nuclear explosions, water streams which had been a source of income in the region for centuries was littered with blackish particles. And after drinking water from these brooks blood droplets started oozing out from our mouths and we started vomiting severely. We were forced to migrated from this region. Also, before these nuclear explosions our women never had to go to hospital for child birth but after these explosions several women lost their lives during pregnancy and child birth.”
  • Abdul Kadir is a resident of Maldin Raskoh. According to him “..after explosions there was an abrupt increase in ophthalmological diseases, though there were no patients before explosions. Cataract and nyctalopia have become quite common and till present day several people remain afflicted of these eye diseases.”
  • Ismail Baloch a resident of Kharan city says “…ophthalmological ailments have become very severe. Thousands of patients have been forced to seek treatment in the eye clinics of the city. These rare ailments could not be imagined before.”
  • Kamal Baloch belongs to Kharan and a member of BNM says “though I was a small child at that time yet I cannot forget how my grandma got cataract and how her eyesight deteriorated and later she became blind.”
  • Another resident of Raskoh Ali Jan Siah Paddi narrates that “…after nuclear explosions human settlements around the area was uprooted as diseases spread amongst all. Our palm gardens dried up and within the next two years we were left only with the dry boughs of trees as legacies.”
  • Today every resident of Balochistan testifies that due to radiation induced famine their largest source of income, livestock, has been badly affected. People have started selling their cattle for pennies. Cattle of worth rupees five to six thousand were sold in hundred to two hundred rupees.
  • Ebrahim who is a resident of Chaghi says that “even if today one visits Kharan, Chaghi and especially Raskoh those disabled children who were born after Pakistan’s nuclear explosions can be found in a large number.” Another resident of Chaghi, Salam Baloch says that “…due to these nuclear explosions alongside many human settlements, our brooks and ponds dried up and a considerable population was forced to migrate from Chaghi and its surrounding areas. Earlier the underground water level was fifteen to twenty feet but at present it is more than hundred feet below the surface. Crop production has also drastically fallen due to ill effects of radiation. Mr. Salam further added that we are terribly affected by radiation and during the last three months more than 550 residents of Chaghi had to be operated in Quetta for appendicitis.”
  • Zafar Baloch is a political worker and belongs to Nall. “…earlier during famine many people migrated towards our region. But after the nuclear blasts when I went across the Nall canal I could see skeletons of sheep, goats and camel scattered all around. I asked a senior gentleman what was the matter. He responded that it is due to the dreadful famine caused by nuclear explosions.”

These are just a couple of comments of a few residents in the region.

If the global organizations dutifully focus on this horrible issue they can see for themselves that Pakistan’s nuclear radiation has affected occupied Balochistan more than any nuclear accident or testing of a nuclear weapon. Wherever an atomic explosion has been carried out or a nuclear accident has occurred, preventive measures have been taken to curb the deadly effects, but unfortunately in Balochistan, Pakistan did not take any corrective steps. The trumpet was blown and slogan of glorification– “Nara-e-Takbir” was raised in Balochistan. In finalizing this report, I reminisced these words of a priest be spoken in a Friday sermon—“Khutba-e-jummah” “this slogan is enough to understand that Balochistan was slaughtered as patsy.” These are the words of famous Baloch priest Maulana Abdul Aziz who was in those days the “Imam” in “Jam-e-ah Masjid” Irrigation Colony in Quetta.

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