AT a Youm-i-Takbeer function organised by Aiwan-e-Karkunan Tehreek-e-Pakistan, Mian Nawaz Sharif praised his governments decision to go ahead with the nuclear tests in May 1998 despite strong pressure not to do so, especially from the US. According to him, President Clinton offered $ 5 billion if Pakistan did not conduct the tests, but his government chose to go ahead and overtly establish Pakistans nuclear capability. He contrasted this with General Musharrafs singular act of weakness when he surrendered the countrys sovereignty to the US on a single call from the then US secretary of State Colin Powel. Mian sahib declared that if there had been a dictator in power in 1998, there would never have been the nuclear tests. Certainly the Sharif governments decision to conduct the nuclear tests was a timely and correct decision and during the two weeks between the Indian tests and Pakistans testing, there was an open debate on the media and much soul searching and discussions at multiple levels within the government. What seems to have been a normal and obvious decision after the event, was in fact a difficult decision at the time with much at stake. The tests were also a culmination of the years of sacrifice by the Pakistani nation and the dedication of its scientists. As Mian Nawaz Sharif pointed out in his address on Friday, Pakistan has also achieved a major advantage over India in terms of its missile development - both in terms of accuracy and stability as a result of conversion of the main missile system to solid fuel. Today, the contrast with the present governments continuing submission to US diktat is in sharp contrast to the determination and confidence displayed by the Sharif government in 1998 - even though at the time we still had not acquired nuclear capability overtly and were therefore far more vulnerable in real terms. Today, despite being a nuclear power with abundant natural resources, our leadership is suffering from a psychological confidence deficit and finds itself unable to resist US diktat - partly also a result of the NRO shadow tainting it. Although many have felt that the PML-N was playing the role of a friendly opposition rather than a forceful one holding the government to rigorous accountability, Mian Nawaz Sharif tried to dispel this impression. He declared that this perception was incorrect and cited his partys leading role in the judicial movement and his total opposition to corruption. The coming days will reveal the partys position more clearly as the judiciary-executive clash becomes ever more inevitable. But it would certainly be beneficial to the nation and its political system if the PML-N would rediscover the same determination, national spirit and steadfastness in the face of external pressures that it showed on 28th May 1998.