Letter from a Pakistani Peace Activist protesting the Pakistan government national celebrations to mark the anniversary of its nuclear tests on May 28

May 5, 1999

this is an appeal to protest and appeal for solidarity. I hope after
reading it you will respond and share it with every list and peace group
you can.

May 11 and May 28 will mark the first anniversary of the nuclear weapons
tests by India and Pakistan respectively. When they carried out the
nuclear tests both governments claimed the tests were a desperate last
ditch decision motivated by grave threats to national security. A year
later there are elaborate official plans to celebrate the anniversary of
the tests, especially in Pakistan. We must protest this celebration of a
capability to commit nuclear mass murder.

In a sickening display of nuclear nationalism, the government of
Pakistan has ordered 10 days of national celebrations to mark the
anniversary of its nuclear tests on May 28. The government is running an
official competition, announced daily on national television, with a
prize of Rs. 100,000 (about $2,000, equivalent to about year's income)
to whoever comes up with the most appropriate name for this May 28
anniversary celebration.Every day now, Pakistan television shows
coverage of the new missiles, Ghauri & Shaheen, being paraded &
launched, with suitably stirring nationalistic songs.

May 28, the day of the anniversary, is to be a national holiday. It will
begin with a 21-gun salute, and there will be special prayers of thanks
at all the mosques. The nation is expected to stand for a one minute
silence while the national anthem is played at 3:17 pm, the time when
Pakistan detonated its nuclear weapons. The Pakistan flag will be raised
on state buildings, provincial capitals and local government offices.
The prime minister will address a public rally at the mausoleum of the
founder of Pakistan, and later he will preside at an award ceremony to
honour Pakistan's nuclear weapon scientists.

Every branch of government is involved. The Ministry of Sports and
Culture has arranged sports and cultural events across the country,
while the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) has arranged a
national art competition to commemorate the tests. Even the Ministry of
Youth Affairs is organising events.

This national nuclear circus shows up just how false the claims were
that the government of Pakistan made at the time of its tests. It had
argued then that Pakistan had no choice but to respond to the grave
threat posed by India, after India's May 11 nuclear tests. What was then
claimed to be desperation has now become joy. The reasons for this
circus are obvious. It is meant to both broaden and deepen support
within Pakistan for nuclear weapons. It is this support that the
government will subsequently point to in international discussions and
say it cannot agree to arms control, never mind disarmament.

The fledgling peace movement in Pakistan, which is working in an
extraordinarily difficult and hostile atmosphere, is organising protests
across the country on May 28. The international peace movement must show
solidarity. Peace groups and activists around the world must join with
activists in Pakistan in publicly demonstrating complete and utter
revulsion at the government of Pakistan's plans to celebrate nuclear
weapons and its cynical attempt to manufacture public support for its
nuclear ambitions.

Please write an email, or send a fax to

1. The Prime Minister of Pakistan
email: primeminister@pak.gov.pk
Fax:(92-51) 920 8890
: (92-51) 920 1545

2. The Federal Minister of Information and Culture,
email: mushahid@pak.gov.pk

3. The Pakistan Mission to the United Nations (New York)
8 East 65th Street, New York NY 10021.
Tel: (212) 879.8600
email: pakistan@undp.org email

Please send copies of your messages to the peace movement through

4. Joint Action Committee for People's Rights
email: sgah@lhr.comsats.net.pk

5. Pakistan Peace Coalition
email: b.m.kutty@cyber.net.pk

Please send a copy, seperately, to Pakistan's leading english newspapers

6. The News
email: tns_pk@yahoo.com

7. Dawn
email: letters@dawn.com

Zia Mian
Center for Energy and Environmental Studies
Princeton University
email: zia@princeton.edu

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