Balochistan commemorated 28 May as ‘Youm-e-AasRokh’ (Black Day) to address the Pakistani nuclear tests in Chaghi. Nationalists in and out of the borders termed 28 May as the “most appalling day” in Balochistan’s history and admonished the nuclear tests as an instrument of hostility – even an “attack on Balochistan”.
According to The Balochistan Post news desk; 28 May – honoured as ‘Youm-e-Takbir’ (Day of Greatness) in Pakistan – was observed as ‘Youm-e-AasRokh’ (Black Day) in Balochistan. Political and student organizations, separatist leaders and nationalists condemned the detonation of nuclear bombs in Chaghi, Balochistan, and deemed it as an “act of hostility” on Balochistan and its inhabitants.
On May 28, 1998, Pakistan executed its nuclear tests in Raskoh hills, Chaghi. Under the code name of Chaghi-1; five nuclear bombs were detonated simultaneously. In the deafening boom and the resultant pulverization of the hills; Pakistan became the first nuclear power in the Muslim world. Authorities considered this as one of the greatest achievements in Pakistan’s history. Afterwards, Pakistan assigned 28 May as ‘Youm-e-Takbir’ to mark the anniversary of its “great achievement”.
On Thursday, Pakistan celebrated ‘Youm-e-Takbir’ with zeal and enthusiasm. Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, parades and gatherings were not arranged, but the admirers took to the social media to pay their respects to the “national heroes” that empowered Pakistan with the nuclear weapons. Taking to Twitter, the Director-General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Pakistan stated that: “On 28 May 1998 Pak successfully established credible min nuclear deterrence & restored balance of power in the region. AFs salute all those involved from conceptualisation to actualisation especially scientists & engineers who made this possible. Long Live Pakistan. #YoumeTakbeer”
In contrast, Balochistan commemorated the day as ‘Youm-e-AasRokh’. Nationalists in Balochistan and overseas condemned the nuclear tests as an “act of hostility” against Balochistan. Talking to the Indian news channel Innovation, Mehran Marri, an exiled Baloch leader, condemned the nuclear tests as an “attack on Balochistan”. He further said that Pakistan had used its military might to forcefully annex Balochistan. “We are not a part of Pakistan”, he said. Moreover, he instructed that 28 May must be celebrated as “the Black Day” in Balochistan.
Baloch Student Organization Azad (BSO-Azad) condemned 28 May as the “most appalling day” in Balochistan’s history. It also maintained that Pakistan pulverized Chaghi for the completion of its ignoble resolves and plunged Balochistan in an abyss of radiative pollution. BSO further alleged that the inhabitants of Kharan and Chaghi were kept oblivious to the nuclear tests. Thousands of people, cattle and acreage were affected. Cancer, thalassemia and other radiation-related maladies soured in Balochistan. The land lost its fecundity and starvation killed the cattle en masse.
World Baloch Organization (WBO) maintained a similar stance. WBO said that Balochistan has always been a “victim” of the “grotesque experiments” of the “oppressive Pakistani state”. It further stated that the radiative marks of the 1998 nuclear tests can be observed to this day. WBO alleged that mushrooming fatal diseases, climate change and mediocre agriculture yield are the direct repercussions of the Pakistani nuclear tests.
National Democratic Party alleged that the nuclear tests “splintered” the social structure of Balochistan and destabilized the natural system. NDP stated that the mass migration, incessant droughts, souring fatal diseases and malnutrition were the aftereffects of the 1998 nuclear tests.