Lahore: Disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist AQ Khan has expressed his willingness to contest elections while suggesting the formation of a government of technocrats because politicians have failed to deliver good governance.
76-year-old Khan made the remarks while addressing students at the Punjab University yesterday. Khan has been accused of running proliferation network and providing nuclear technology to Iran, North Korea and others.
He advised PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif to quit politics and concentrate on his business and to let his younger brother, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, take care of the party's affairs.
The scientist's remarks about his possible participation in electoral politics are significant as recent media reports have suggested that he has been approached by Imran Khan to join the cricketer-turned-politician's Tehrik-e-Insaf party.
Khan expressed his willingness to participate in elections, saying he wanted to do something for the progress of Pakistan.
He said: "I wish that only educated people are elected to the provincial and national assemblies in the next elections."
Pakistan cannot progress unless technocrats, including scientists and engineers, are given a chance to run the country, he contended.
However, the politicians were issuing statements against technocrats, he added. Khan said he had always tried to give sincere advice to politicians but nobody listened to him.
"All countries in the world have progressed with the support of technocrats but Pakistan is trying to progress under the leadership of politicians," he said.
At the same time, he criticised the Nawaz Sharif, who was the premier when Khan and team of scientists helped conduct a series of nuclear tests in 1998.
He said: "I think Shahbaz Sharif has leadership qualities and therefore he should head his party and Nawaz should quit politics and pay attention to his family business."
He criticised the PML-N government in Punjab for reviving a scheme to provide taxis to underprivileged members of society.
"I had asked Nawaz Sharif when the yellow cabs were procured at a total cost of Rs 800 million that I should be given Rs 200 million so that I could manufacture the cars locally. Local production would boost Pakistan's economy."
Pakistan is spending about Rs 250 million on the purchase of mobile phones, he said.
"If we can make the atom bomb, why we can't make smaller things like cars and mobile phones?" he asked.
Khan also shared memories about his early years and his role in Pakistan’s nuclear programme. He said he was deeply saddened when East Pakistan was separated from the country.
"When India conducted atomic tests in 1974, I wrote a letter to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto for the initiation of the nuclear programme in Pakistan," he said.
First Published: Thursday, May 03, 2012, 14:01