An overview of Pakistan’s nuclear programme


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History of Pakistan’s nuclear programme:

History of Pakistan’s nuclear programme

Slide 2:

Pakistan's nuclear programme got underway in 1955. Over the next nine years, 37 Pakistani scientists were trained at atomic facilities in the U.S. and in 1965 Pakistan began operating its first research nuclear reactor, supplied by the U.S., under international inspection safeguards.


Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was the founder of Pakistan's nuclear programme. In October, 1965, the then-Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto visited Vienna when Munir Ahmad Khan informed him of the status of India's nuclear programme and the options Pakistan had to develop its own nuclear capability. Both agreed on the need for Pakistan to develop a nuclear deterrent to meet India's nuclear threat.

Slide 4:

Prime Minister Bhutto addressing Pakistan National Assembly, in 1965 had said "We will eat grass but will make the Atom Bomb“.

Slide 5:

On January 20, 1972, PM Bhutto rallied a conference of nuclear scientists and nuclear engineers at the Multan Conference, where 283 scientists attended. Prime Minister Bhutto said: "Look, we're going to have the bomb.” He asked them, "Can you give it to me? And how long will it take it to make a bomb?" Prime Minister Bhutto smiled, lifted his hand, and dramatically thrust forward three fingers and said "Three years, I want it in three years!”

Slide 6:

Dr. S.A.Butt (a nuclear chemist), replied "It can be done in three years". Prime Minister Bhutto was amused and he said: "Well, as much as I appreciate your enthusiasm, this is a very serious political decision, which Pakistan must make, and perhaps all Third World countries must make one day, because it is coming. So can you do it?" And the scientist replied, "Yes, we can do it, given the resources and given the facilities". Bhutto's answer was simple, "I shall find you the resources and I shall find you the facilities".

Slide 7:

The Karachi Nuclear Power Plant, from Canada under IAEA safeguards (KANUPP) was inaugurated by Bhutto as President at the end of 1972 . Long before, as Minister for Fuel, Power and National Resources, he played a key role in setting up of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. Bhutto chose a U.S trained nuclear engineer Mr. Munir Ahmad Khan as chairman of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC ). The Kahuta facility was also established by the Bhutto Administration, and brought under nuclear scientist Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan and the Army’s Engineer Corps' Lieutenant General Zahid Ali Akbar.

Project 706:

Project 706 Project-706 was the codename of the project conducted to develop the first atomic bomb for Pakistan. It was launched after the defeat of Pakistan in Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Project-706 picked up its speed after India's surprise nuclear test codenamed Smiling Buddha in 1974. The project was led by Pakistan.

Slide 9:

The project's roots lay in scientists' fears since the 1967 that India was also investing in nuclear weapons of its own. The project was initially launched by the ZAB in 1972. The scientific research was directed by noted Pakistani engineers Munir Ahmad Khan and Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan. The project cost US$450 million which was approved by Bhutto in 1972. It resulted in the creation of multiple production and research sites that operated in secret. Project-706 maintained control over Pakistan's weapons production until the successful cold test of the design of a nuclear device on March 11, 1983 conducted by PAEC under Munir Ahmad Khan.

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