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International anxiety over A Q Khan’s entry into Pakistan politics

AQ Khan: Father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb jumps into politics, Christian Science Monitor 11 Nov 12 AQ Khan, lauded by many Pakistanis for giving the country the bomb, has launched a political movement targeting the youth vote. He has been accused of selling nuclear secrets to North Korea and Iran. By Taha Siddiqui, Correspondent / November 11, 2012 ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN 
The father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb has launched a political party, which plans to participate in the next presidential election slated for early 2013. Abdul Qadeer Khan has started a 100-day campaign to tour Pakistan, starting with Kahuta, home to the first nuclear facility in Pakistan, established just outsideIslamabad, during the 1970s. 

“The current leadership in Pakistan is corrupt and it needs to change. I will go around the country to appeal to students, professionals, and the civil society to vote for the right people, since the upcoming elections are around the corner. They look up to me so they will listen to me,” Dr. AQ Khan said in a telephone interview…..

In Pakistan, Khan is considered a national hero for helping transform the country into a nuclear power.

Khan is accused, however, of providing nuclear research to LibyaIran, and North Korea. In 2004 he confessed on Pakistani television to selling nuclear secrets. But he later claimed that he was forced to confess by the then president of Pakistan, Gen. Pervez Musharraf. He was put under house arrest for five years following his confession, and while restrictions were relaxed on him after public pressure, he still lives under tight military security.

To the US and nuclear investigators around the world, he is a rogue scientist who has failed to reveal the extent of the dangers posed by the underground network he created.,,,,

In his speech to the lawyers in Kahuta, Khan reiterated that nuclear proliferation accusations against him were false, but did add that he had told Pakistani authorities that nuclear technology “is mine to give to whomever I want.”

Khan hasn’t specifically mentioned any future plans, though he has played on the Pakistani public’s desire to clean up current corruption among the political class and bring in new young professionals……

While some see his entry into politics as military backed, others see it as more of a compromise that he has made with thePakistani military to keep his mouth shut.

“Every now and then AQ Khan pulls a rabbit out of the hat, as when he named some Army generals he had bribed with North Korean money,” Pervez Hoodbhoy, a Pakistani nuclear physicist and defense analyst, says. The military would rather see him busy with politics, he adds…..

 Pakistan’s credibility  Internationally, observers feel that Khan’s entry into politics adds to an already long list of serious doubts about Pakistan’s credibility and its status as a responsible nuclear state.

“He should have been treated as a criminal, but he enjoyed luxury even after his house arrest. He regularly writes opinion pieces in the local newspapers and enjoys life as a popular public figure,” says Christine Fair, a Pakistan expert at Georgetown University in Washington….

November 12, 2012 - Posted by | Pakistan, politics

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