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Scot out to help Khan win Pakistan elections

A ScotS millionaire has been picked to become the right-hand man to Imran Khan – the former cricketer who hopes to be the next leader of Pakistan.

Azeem Ibrahim, who was raised in a council house in Glasgow after his parents emigrated from Pakistan in the 1960s, is to be a special adviser to Mr Khan in the country.

Mr Khan, who was once married to socialite Jemima Goldsmith, has been building a political career in his homeland for more than a decade and is tipped to become Pakistan's next prime minister following the outcome of elections this year.

Mr Ibrahim, 36, who made his fortune in banking and insurance, has been invited to help Mr Khan's political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), squash wide-spread corruption should it enter power.

Mr Ibrahim sealed the appointment after meeting twice with the ex-Pakistan cricket captain, once at his London home and in Pakistan. He claimed to have been impressed with what Mr Khan plans to achieve.

"What struck me most about Mr Khan was his ability to take in vast amounts of information and process it in a very intellectual way," he said. "We spoke for five hours each time and I am convinced he will win the election by a landslide."

If that happens, Mr Ibrahim will work to create anti-corruption policies, a move he says will rebuild a country suffering extremist violence and difficult economic circumstances.

"When I first met with Imran Khan he reminded me of all the qualities of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan," Mr Ibrahim added.

"The victory of the PTI in the next election will not be the victory of a political party, it will be the re-founding of Pakistan and that is something I am proud to be part of, particularly given my family's Pakistani heritage.

"Corruption in Pakistan is extremely widespread and the country's immense resources are being squandered. I believe Mr Khan can turn things around very quickly, within one year of office, and it will be my job to create policies that can be put into place immediately."

Mr Khan has held a series of political rallies, drawing crowds of more than 100,000 people and demonstrating the popularity of the party – which translates as Pakistan Union for Justice – he founded 15 years ago.

Mr Ibrahim, said Mr Khan had been impressed by his work advising the Pakistani Government on how to recover after the devastating floods in 2010.

Mr Ibrahim, founder of the European Commerce and Mercantile Bank, already has extensive experience in advising world governments. He has worked on taskforces set up by former UK prime minister Gordon Brown, advised the Turkish Government and has worked with various American bodies including the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Council.

In Pakistan he will work on strategic policy development looking at models of public sector management to develop government processes at federal, provincial and local levels with inbuilt restraints on power designed to limit corruption.

Mr Ibrahim is an academic at the University of Chicago, where he now lives with his wife, a paediatrician, and their two young daughters.

A research scholar at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and a World Fellow at Yale, he was among six children born to Mohammed and Khurshida Ibrahim. His first job was in his parent's grocery shop in Maryhill Road, Glasgow, and he excelled as a pupil at Hillhead High School.

He later moved to London and worked in commodities, before setting up a maritime insurance company.

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