Pakistan had the ability and had planned to conduct a nuclear test in 1984, said scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan. However, Gen. Zia opposed the idea as it would have curtailed international aid Pakistan was receiving due to the ongoing Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, he added.
"We were able and we had a plan to launch nuclear test in 1984 but then President General Zia had opposed the move," Dawn quoted the father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme as saying.
General Zia was of the opinion that the world would stop military aid if Pakistan opted for the nuclear test, Khan added. He also said that Pakistan was able to target New Dehli from Kahuta, a city in Pakistan’s Punjab, in five minutes.
"Without my services Pakistan would never have been the first Muslim nuclear nation. We were able to achieve the capability under very tough circumstances, but we did it," said Khan while addressing a gathering on the occasion of Youm-i-Takbeer(the day Pakistan became a nuclear power state).
Referring to the treatment meted out to him during Musharraf’s era, Khan said nuclear scientists in the country have not been given the respect that they deserve.
"We are facing the worst against our services to the country’s nuclear programme," he added.
Abdul Qadeer Khan was at the centre of a massive global nuclear proliferation scandal in 2004.
In a series of dramatic developments, he was accused by then army chief and president Pervez Musharraf of running a rogue proliferation network for nuclear material. Shortly after Musharraf’s announcement, a recorded confession by Khan was aired in which he took sole responsibility for all the nuclear proliferation that had been revealed.