Dr. Qadeer registers party for elections

Updated 29 November 2012
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Dr. Qadeer registers party for elections

ISLAMABAD: The father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb has registered a new political party to contest for the first time general elections expected next year, officials said yesterday
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.
In July, he set up Tehreek-e-Tahafuzz Pakistan or Save Pakistan Movement (SPM) to contest the 2013 elections and to campaign for an end to endemic corruption.
But attendance at his public meetings has been sparse and Khan is unlikely to emerge a serious contender at the ballot box despite his popularity.
A spokesman for the Election Commission of Pakistan confirmed to AFP that SPM was among 19 new political parties whose registration was approved on Tuesday.
The election is expected to mark the first time that a democratically elected civilian government in Pakistan completes a full term in office and hands over to a new, elected administration.
SPM secretary general Chaudhry Khurshid Zaman said Khan had yet to decide whether to stand himself for election but that as chairman, he would guide the party through the campaign.
“Our party has been registered, we will take part in the elections with full strength,” Zaman told AFP.
“The whole country is burning, price hikes, unemployment, the energy crisis, poverty and other heinous problems have made public life miserable.
“Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan has joined politics to change this face of Pakistan and he is the only hope. All other political parties have failed.” Separately, Pakistan’s military said it has successfully test-fired a medium-range ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
A military statement says the Hatf V or Ghauri missile was launched yesterday from an undisclosed location.
It says the missile can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads over a distance of 1,300 kilometers (810 miles).
Pakistan has previously test-fired this same missile. The country became a declared nuclear power in 1998, when it conducted underground nuclear tests in response to those carried out by its archenemy and neighbor, India.
The two countries have fought three major wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947. They often conduct tit-for-tat missile tests.


Japan halts missile drills after Trump-Kim summit

Updated 21 June 2018
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Japan halts missile drills after Trump-Kim summit

TOKYO: Japan has halted evacuation drills simulating a North Korean missile attack in the wake of historic talks between Washington and Pyongyang, local media reported Thursday.
Government officials did not immediately confirm the reports, but authorities in one town said they were suspending a drill planned for next week on orders from Tokyo.
The decision comes after US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un met last week in Singapore, with the pair signing a joint document calling for denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
Yaita in Tochigi prefecture north of Tokyo had been planning an evacuation drill for next week involving some 800 residents including 350 school children, city official Yutaka Yanagida said.
But the city suddenly canceled all preparations late Wednesday after being instructed by the government that “drills should be postponed for the time being following a change in the environment after the US-North Korea summit,” he said.
Contacted by AFP, a Cabinet Office official said the government would announce its policy on evacuation drills on Friday, declining to comment further.
Last year, Pyongyang fired two missiles over Japan and it has splashed others into the sea near the country, sparking a mix of panic and outrage.
Earlier this year, hundreds of Tokyo residents scrambled for cover in the Japanese capital’s first evacuation drill for a military attack by Pyongyang.
North Korea has singled out Japan, a key US ally in the region, for verbal attacks, threatening to “sink” the country into the sea and to turn it into “ashes.”
But the regional mood has turned toward diplomacy since the Winter Olympics hosted by South Korea, which set off a series of diplomatic moves culminating in the Trump-Kim meet.