Then U.S. president Bill Clinton had offered Pakistan a $5 billion package to refrain from conducting tit—for—tat nuclear tests in response to India’s in 1998 but the offer was rejected at the cost of sanctions, Nawaz Sharif, who was the prime minister at the time, said on Friday.
“I told him (Clinton) that we are not among those people who are sold for a few dollars, not now and in future too. Thus we successfully carried out our nuclear tests,” Online news agency quoted Mr. Sharif as telling party activists on the 12th anniversary of the May 28, 1998 nuclear tests.
India had conducted its nuclear tests May 11, 1998.
Mr. Sharif said the entire nation was united in favour of the nuclear tests and Mushahid Hussain, who was the information minister at the time, “was the first person who advised me” that they should be conducted in reply to those by India.
“It was the democratic government that took the bold decision of conducting nuclear tests and if there was a dictator, he would have never gone for the tests,” Mr. Sharif maintained.
The reference was to former president Pervez Musharraf, who deposed Mr. Sharif in a bloodless coup in 1999 and ruled for nine years.
The nuclear tests had made this country’s defence “undefeatable and Pakistan became the first nuclear power of the Islamic world”, Mr. Sharif said.