Abdul Qadeer Khan, Pakistan's nuclear scientist, enters politics


Disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan waves as he walks in a garden in Islamabad on February 7, 2009. Khan is set to stir up the next election with his political movement, Tehreek-e-Tahaffuz Pakistan, launched in July 2012.



Abdul Qadeer Khan, the man who made Pakistan into a nuclear power, is set to shake up the upcoming election as he heads a political movement, according to the Associated Press.

Khan, who admitted to leaking nuclear secrets to Iran, North Korea and Libya, is haled as a hero in Pakistan, but viewed as a pariah in the United States, the AP noted.

Khan aims to target the youth vote, and he said, "We need a new generation of political people and technocrats," according to the Guardian. "My message to young voters is: don't bring these old politicians back. Don't give your vote to thieves and liars. But who exactly they vote for, is up to them."

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According to Pakistani newspaper The Express Tribune, Khan's campaign launched under the banner "Tehreek-e-Tahaffuz Pakistan," which translates to Movement for Protection of Pakistan.

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

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"The leaders of most of the big political parties are robbers and corrupt," Khan told the AP, taking aim at President Asif Ali Zardari, the co-leader of the Pakistan People's Party and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, head of the Pakistan Muslim League-N.

Khan, who headed Pakistan's nuclear program, was punished by house arrest in 2004 for stealing technology to build a nuclear weapon, said the Guardian. Those restrictions have since been lifted, despite Washington still viewing Khan as a "serious proliferation risk."