Was Nawaz Sharif against conducting nuclear tests in 1998?

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Lahore, Aug.30 (ANI): Former Pakistan Foreign Minister Gohar Ayub Khan has said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was not in favour of conducting nuclear tests in 1998, but was 'outlawed' by his cabinet and forced to accept its decision regarding going ahead with the tests.

In an interview with a private television channel, Khan claimed that some ministers of Sharif's cabinet also supported his views of not conducting the nuclear tests at that time.

He said that ministers like Mushahid Hussain, Nisar Ali Khan, Sartaj Aziz and Abida Hussain, during a cabinet meeting, had opposed the nuke tests which were held on May 28, 1998.

"Mushahid changed his mind and did not support the nuclear tests of May 28, 1998 during a cabinet meeting held to consider the issue," The Daily Times quoted Khan, as saying.

Khan said the present opposition leader in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan would confirm his claims, as he is fully aware of the incident.

However, both Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) have rejected Khan's claims.

PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain termed former Foreign Minister's statements as a 'joke, saying both he and Mushahid Hussain, as the Information Minister, had supported the nuclear tests.

PML-N Information Secretary Ahsan Iqbal also denied Khan's claims that Nawaz Sharif was opposed to conducting nuclear tests.

"Gohar's statement regarding the PML-N chief's stance on nuclear tests was contrary to fact. The statement has no relevance, as every one knew that Nawaz, the Prime Minister at the time, had decided to conduct the nuclear tests in 1998," Iqbal said.

Meanwhile, former Federal Minister Abida Hussain said she had suggested the government to not to conduct nuclear tests in a huff merely to give a response to India.

Hussain said it was the then Foreign Minister Gohar Ayub Khan who had pressurized Nawaz Sharif for conducting the tests immediately. (ANI)

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