Updated: 03/29/2013 20:54 | By Agence France-Presse

Pakistan's nuclear father not contesting vote: party

The father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb has decided not to contest general elections in May, but will support his party and its allies on the campaign trail, a party spokesman said Friday.


Pakistan's nuclear father not contesting vote: party

Former Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan attends a meeting of the Jamaat-e-Islami party in Islamabad, on February 26, 2013. Khan -- the father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb -- has decided not to contest general elections in May, but will support the Tehreek-e-Tahafuzz Pakistan party and its allies on the campaign trail, a party spokesman said.

Many Pakistanis regard Abdul Qadeer Khan, 76, as a hero for building the Muslim world's first atomic bomb but in the West he is considered a dangerous renegade since admitting in 2004 to selling nuclear secrets on the black market.

He later retracted his remarks and was freed from house arrest in Islamabad in 2009, but he remains under pressure from the authorities to keep a low profile.

Khan last November registered his Tehreek-e-Tahafuzz Pakistan or Save Pakistan Movement (SPM) to contest general elections for the first time and was allotted the symbol of a missile on request.

"Doctor Abdul Qadeer Khan will not take part in the election, but he will continue to befittingly support his party and its allies," party spokesman Rohail Akbar said in a statement.

"The party candidates and our allies have obtained nomination papers and they will stand for election in all parts of Pakistan," Akbar said.

The party is campaigning on a ticket to end corruption, inflation and power cuts, but is not expected to win many votes.

The May 11 vote stands to mark the first democratic transition of power in Pakistani history, which has been dominated by four military rulers.

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