Musharraf to return to Pakistan before polls


Pakistan's former President Pervez Musharraf said on Friday he would return home this month after almost three years in Dubai and take part in a forthcoming parliamentary election, reported Reuters.

Parliament is due to be dissolved by March 16, after which an interim administration will take over to oversee the run-up to the election to be held within 90 days.

Musharraf seized power in a 1999 coup and briefly imposed a state of emergency in Pakistan before resigning in 2008.

"I have decided to return to Pakistan within a week of the formation of the interim government," he told reporters in Dubai, saying he believed this would take place on March 16.

Asked if he planned to run for president, Musharraf said: "The presidency will come at a later stage. Now I'm going back for the parliamentary elections and hope my party does well."

Some media reports have said Musharraf, who faces the threat of arrest in Pakistan on charges that he failed to provide adequate security to former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto before her assassination in 2007, will seek Saudi help in obtaining guarantees that he will not be detained.

"I don't see any reason why I should be arrested," Musharraf said.

"We will see what will happen when I land in the airport and take action according to that."

EARLIER STORY: A close aide of Musharraf told Emirates 24l7 he will return after March 16

Former Pakistani president and head of All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) party General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf will fly to Pakistan after the current government’s term expires on March 15,  to contest upcoming general elections.

Rumours doing rounds here in Dubai say that Musharraf will fly back to Lahore on March 23 which is observed as Pakistan Day.

A close party aide of Musharraf told Emirates 24l7 that he will go back to Pakistan after March 16. “He will be going after March 16 only,” the aid said. The former general – who resides in Dubai – will make an official statement at a press conference in Dubai tomorrow about his return.

Musharraf faces an arrest warrant after Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency linked the former military ruler with the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Musharraf strongly denies these accusations. The former general has not returned to the country since then.

“I run the risk of being arrested, but I will take the risk for Pakistan,” he told reporters last year.

It’s believed that the retired general will return on March 23, when a caretaker government is in place and there is less likelihood of political victimsation, according to analysts.

In 2011, Musharraf had announced his return to Pakistan from his self-imposed exile on March 23, 2012, but then decided to further delay after consultations with his party workers.

“My plan is to land in Lahore on March 23 next year (in 2012), if not earlier,” he told reporters at a news conference in Dubai in 2011.

He islikely  to land at Allama Iqbal International Airport in the Pakistani city of Lahore.

On March 23, 2013, another major party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf is holding a huge rally in Lahore for its newly-appointed office bearers.


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