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Pak nuclear scientist A Q Khan launches political party

August 27, 2012 14:19 IST

Disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist A Q Khan has floated a political forum 'Tehrik-e-Tahaffuz Pakistan' and said he plans to launch a countrywide youth awakening programme ahead of the upcoming general election.

Khan, in continuous feud with the country's establishment, said he plans to motivate the youth "regarding who to vote for and who not to vote for", 'The Express Tribune' reported.

"I will consistently urge youth to elect honest persons in upcoming elections and stand for survival of the country," he said.

Khan was put under house arrest in 2004 after he admitted to running a secret proliferation ring that provided knowhow and nuclear components to countries like North Korea and Libya.

The current government has eased some of the restrictions on Khan after he filed cases in court and he has stepped up his public appearances in recent months.

He claimed traditional political parties had failed to deliver on their promises and said his party's campaign would ask the youth not to vote for traditional parties like the Pakistan People's Party and PML-N.

The new party has so far gained little political ground among people, the report said.

Political pundits have predicted that while Khan enjoys enormous respect among the people, the party is unlikely to gain any significant vote bank or public support.

Khan has reportedly held meetings with former army chief Mirza Aslam Beg, former PoK "prime minister" Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan and some former federal ministers.

Workers of the party said it was unique as it is a "guidance movement for patriotic youth".

They said traders across the country, particularly in Karachi, have pledged financial support for Khan's initiative.

The party, which has already launched a campaign on a Facebook page, has so far drawn 21 supporters.

Workers are confident that the party will gain momentum through Khan's public appearances, newspaper columns and TV and radio programs and the opening of provincial offices.

Khan, who is known to be close to Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan, has demonstrated his preference for new political parties.

His campaign is likely to advocate such parties as an alternative political choice for the youth.

"Dr Khan's main objective in launching his political party is to remain in the political limelight," said political analyst Zahid Hussain.

Others believe Khan's party would remain a small, insignificant political entity like the Awami Qiadat Party of former army chief Mirza Aslam Beg.

"Such initiatives are a product of political ambition and personal whims. It will be an addition to the many rightwing outfits which brood on a false sense of glory," said political analyst Harris Khalique.

Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
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