Nazia Jabeen - Youm-i-Takbeer would always be remembered as an important milestone in the history of Pakistan, the day Pakistan became the first and only Muslim nuclear state. The credit for making the country's defence secure goes to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government and South Asian countries came out of instability due to Pakistan's nuclear programme.

Pakistan's atomic programme was developed to make country's defence impregnable. It is a guarantee to peace in South Asia. This programme created a balance of power, which was necessary to make this region safe. Our nuclear programme depicts the ability of the Pakistani nation; that they have the ability to face all challenges. It is our national responsibility to be prepared to protect the country from internal and external threats.

Pakistan's geopolitical importance is underestimated, though it is an important factor in the stability of South and Central Asia. Neither a resolution to the Kashmir conflict nor lasting peace in Afghanistan will be possible without Pakistan playing a major role. And international terrorism can only be effectively fought through close cooperation with Islamabad. And as a nuclear power, Pakistan is not only defying the nefarious designs of its enemies but also playing an important role to keep the power balance in the region where India is trying to bully other countries for its own vested interests.

There have been perpetual terrorisation from India and its strategic allies at global arena through relentless use of soft and hard powers to pressurise Pakistan on many accounts primarily to cap its nuclear weapons programme in addition to many other purposes including enabling India to block China, purportedly a country that augments Pakistan’s nuclear and economic capacity, from emerging as a potential power in the face of a monopole privilege.

Successful efforts of Pakistan’s security structure under the legal protection of representative government, in all types of troubled areas to include terror hit Tribal areas and prolifically polarised economic nerve centers like Karachi, have ignited unprecedented anxiety within American led west and Indian ranks, due to fear of failure of their long term strategic maneuvering to denuclearise Pakistan.

But despite Pakistan enemies nefarious designs the nuclear Pakistan now stands all chance not only to counter these threats but also lead the world after nurturing its true potential through CPEC. Moreover, the success of Zarb-e-Azb and Operation Radul Fassad is the continuation of this pledge to make Pakistan's defence impregnable. The entire nation is united on the issue of terrorism and the ongoing operations against terrorists are getting unprecedented successes.

A sound economy is also a prerequisite for invincible defence and so is true for the vice-versa. Pakistan’s defence power has helped it now to truly materialise its geopolitical potential and translate it into economic gains. The prudent policies incumbent government, which also has the credit of making the Pakistan a known nuclear power, are helping country achieve economic stability.

Pakistan is playing a vital role as an anchor of peace and stability in the region. The vision of national security is embedded in economic sovereignty, all inclusive impregnable defence, smooth and seamless political process, internal stability, good governance and friendly international environment to protect Pakistan’s integrity and solidarity.

Managing an economy like Pakistan’s is probably the most excruciating and convoluted responsibility. When the PML-N government was installed in May 2013, the economy of the country was on the verge of collapse. The country faced a severe energy crisis. Economic growth was below 3pc, inflation was at double digits, interest rates were high, budget deficit was at 8.8pc of GDP, investments were abysmally low, foreign currency reserves stood at the lowest ever level and the country faced the prospect of an ignominious default on IMF loans. Now after four years the government can rightly boast of putting the economy back on track.

Through prudent, rational and visionary management of the economy that focused on macro-economic structural reforms, expansion in tax net, investment in infrastructure and energy projects and initiatives aimed at reducing budget deficit, the government has been able to orchestrate a discernible turn around in the economy, notwithstanding the devastation wrought by floods and expenditure on military operations against terrorists and volatile political conditions.

Pakistan’s economic success story has repeatedly been endorsed by the international rating agencies IMF, the World Bank and the international media, lending credence to the government claims. Bloomberg in a report observed “Nawaz government took charge in the highly unfavourble situation yet it has been able to put the country on the path of economic progress”. Forbes observed “Macro-economic and structural reforms over the last couple of years have narrowed the budget deficit and raised GDP to a stable level of 4.5pc. Standards and Poor’s upgraded Pakistan’s credit rating from stable to positive. Explaining the rationale for this up-gradation the report said, “The positive outlook reflects our expectation of Pakistan’s improved economic growth prospects, fiscal and external performance and the supportive relationship of external donors over the next 12 months.” Moody’s, another credible rating agency, also upgraded credit rating of Pakistan.

The Wall Street Journal maintained that Pakistan’s economy has improved, thanks to the prudent monetary and fiscal policies of the government. Similarly, The Economist in a recent report said, “There were some indications of upturn in spending as the state bank has cut its bench mark interest rate to 7pc, the lowest in 42 years. Those in search of a thriving stock market, a stable currency market and low inflation would not normally pitch up in Pakistan. Yet Pakistan is enjoying a rare period of optimism about its economy. The economy is growing by 5.3pc. The government of Nawaz Sharif deserves credit for the new stability in the economy.

Apart from the foregoing achievements, the government, honestly speaking, has shown remarkable sense of urgency and commitment in tiding over the energy crisis. Under the China-Pak Economic Corridor, China has committed to make an investment of $34 billion in the power producing ventures with a cumulative power generating capacity of 10,600 MW to be completed between 2017-18.

These are all very auspicious developments and would go a long way in boosting the already buoyant economy. These achievements despite the formidable challenges and debilitating variables inherited by the government are commendable to say the least. They promise a great economic future for Pakistan. Economic policies in the period ahead need to focus on preserving the hard-won stability and addressing emerging as well as medium-term challenges, notably in the fiscal, external, and energy sectors.

Pakistan is a peaceful country and does not nurture aggressive designs against any country. However, peace is achieved through strength and Pakistan’s defence policy is based on having minimum credible deterrence both in conventional and strategic areas that is being backed by a strong economic stability.

Pakistan believes in self-reliance and has made progress in enhancing its indigenous capabilities in the area of defence and security and no doubt would continue to modernise its Army, Navy and Air Force to fully enable them protect the sovereignty and integrity the country.