Pakistan conducts five underground tests
Pakistan conducts five underground nuclear tests in Chagai Hills at 3:15 pm on May 28, 1998.
On 11 and 13 May, 1998 India conducted nuclear tests, declaring itself a nuclear power. Over the following days, important political leaders in India made veiled threats towards Pakistan.
“Islamabad should realise the change in the geo-strategic situation in the region and the world. It must roll back its anti-India policy especially with regard to Kashmir. Any other course will be futile and costly for Pakistan,” said Indian Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani at the time.
US and other world powers pressurised Pakistan to avoid responding in a like manner. In Pakistan, however, the public at large, scientific community, political leadership and military commanders were strongly in favour of a nuclear test. On May 18, the Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif ordered Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) chairman Dr Ishfaq Ahmed: “Dhamaka kar dein” (Conduct the test).
The very next day, disassembled nuclear bombs were loaded onto a Pakistan Airforce C-130 aircraft so they could be transported to Chagai, Balochistan. The C-130 was escorted by PAF F-16 jets armed with air to air missiles and given strict orders to shoot down the transport aircraft in case it attempted to leave Pakistani airspace. Radio communication to the F-16 pilots were also turned off so no other orders could be given to the pilots.
May 28, 1998: On a sunny and windless day, the earth shook as dust rose from site and the mountain began to change its colour. Pakistani scientists and civic-military leaders watched at a distance.
“…when nothing happened for five seconds [after pushing the button], everyone was worried. These five seconds were the longest period of my life. However, when the explosion took place after five seconds, everybody was very happy and was raising slogan: “Allah-o-Akbar”. – Dr Samar Mubarakmand.
Pakistan thus became the seventh country in the world and the only Muslim-majority country to possess nuclear weapons.
Here’s a PTV news bulletin from May 1998 announcing the tests.
Misbah-ul-Haq is born
Misbah-ul-Haq Khan Niazi is born on May 28, 1974 in Pakistan. Passionate about cricket from a very young age, Misbah also pursued his education with determination, completing his BSc and then and MBA.
While he made his debut for the Pakistan national team in 2001, Misbah became an integral part of the team after the 2007 ICC World Twenty20. Two years later, he helped Pakistan win the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 and reach the semi-finals of the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup.
“Whenever I go out to bat, the score is 10 for 3. Fine, I’ll move up the order and take the score to 230 for 3, but then they are all out for 235.”
Eventually becoming the captain of the national side, his leadership propelled Pakistan to top the ICC test rankings in 2016 – the first time in close to three decades.
He is also Pakistan’s most successful captain with 26 wins, being first South Asian captain to defeat South Africa in South Africa in an ODI series, and the first Pakistani captain to win a Test series against West Indies in West Indies.
Misbah played his last match for Pakistan on May 10, 2017.
Belgium surrenders to the Germany Army during World War II
The Battle of Belgium ends with a German victory on May 28, 1940.
Spanish Armada sets sail to invade England
The Spanish Armada sets sail from the Spanish city of Lisbon on May 28, 1588 to invade England. Composed of 130 ships, 18,000 soldiers, guns and 8,000 sailors, it took over two days for the warships to leave the port. The planned invasion ended in failure after English ships attacked and harassed the invading force and poor weather in the English Channel caused widespread damage to the armada.
Ian Fleming is born
Ian Fleming is born on May 28, 1908 in Mayfair, London. He worked as a Naval Intelligence officer for the British Empire during the Second World War and became a journalist after retirement. He eventually went on to write a set of novels as part of the James Bond series. Ian Fleming is considered among the most influential British writers of the twentieth century and his James Bond series continue to receive global acclaim, being deeply entrenched in popular culture.
Maya Angelou dies
The American Civil Rights activist, singer, memoirist and poet Maya Angelou dies on May 28, 2014 at the age of 86.
“But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams,
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream,
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied,
so he opens his throat to sing.”
Over the course of her life, she published seven autobiographies, the most famous of which was I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969) that became the first best selling non-fiction written by an African American woman.
“You may write me down in history,
with your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt,
But still, like dust, i’ll rise.”
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