World | Pakistan

Former Pakistan president Musharraf to return on January 31

Cites country's fast-changing political scene

  • By Ashfaq Ahmed, Deputy UAE Editor
  • Published: 00:00 November 25, 2011
  • Gulf News

Man of the hour
  • Image Credit: Gulf News Archive/Ahmed Ramzan
  • Pakistan’s former president Pervez Musharraf in Dubai in a file photo. Musharraf has said he will return to Pakistan earlier than previously announced.

Dubai: In what appears to be a surprising move, former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf has decided to return to Pakistan earlier than he had announced due to the fast-changing political scene in the country.

According to one of his aides, Musharraf will fly back to Pakistan on January 31, 2012, instead of March 23 as was announced by him in a press conference in Dubai earlier this year.

A deepening political crisis and the sharp increase in popularity of Imran Khan in Pakistan have ostensibly prompted Musharraf to take this decision.

Meanwhile, a senior Pakistan government official has revealed to Gulf News that the Pakistani authorities have clearly conveyed to Musharraf the threats to his life in case of his return.

"We advised him to stay out of the country because there are threats to his life not only from extremist groups but also others who don't want to see him in Pakistan," the official said.

Former prime minister Benazir Bhuatto, who was assassinated on her return from Dubai in 2007, also faced similar threats and warnings before her return but it was Musharraf, in power at the time, who had warned her.

Musharraf, however, has rubbished these threats and is determined to go back. He will be on a tour of the UK, US and Saudi Arabia for the next month to ensure guarantees for his safe return and the launch of his political campaign to contest the next elections.

The decision has been taken following marathon meetings Musharraf held with his party leaders and supporters who came to Dubai from Pakistan, UK, US and Canada.

The three-day-long parleys concluded yesterday with a decision that it is time for Musharraf to go back as soon as possible. Musharraf, who has been living in self-exile, had launched his political party, the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), in October 2011 in a bid to give a third option to the Pakistani electorate.

Almost finalised

"We have almost finalised our party's organisational structure in Pakistan and are paving the way for our leader's return," Fawad Chaudhry, a spokesperson of the APML told Gulf News in Dubai.

When asked about Musharraf's early return, he did not confirm the date but did acknowledge that the decision had been taken for Musharraf to go back earlier. He said formal plans of his return would be announced by the end of December.

Some five plane-loads of people will accompany Musharraf to Pakistan. He will start his journey from London and reach Pakistan via Dubai. However, a decision is yet to be taken on whether he will land in Karachi or Islamabad.

Meanwhile, Chaudhry said efforts are on for a possible alliance with Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf and Altaf Hussain's MQM, while a number of politicians from different factions of Pakistan Muslim League are also in touch to join the APML.

"APML will emerge as a third political force and alternative to the current political parties because the people of Pakistan want change," Musharraf had said in an earlier meeting and added he would take his chances in a bid to make a comeback to power to save Pakistan.

He said the current government had become completely dysfunctional while the administration structure had broken down and the country was facing political turmoil, in addition to a worsening law and order situation.

The meetings lead by Musharraf also discussed his security plans on his return and also the issue of arrest warrants. Musharraf is facing two arrests warrants including one over the killing of a Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti and the another on the murder of Benazir Bhutto.

Comments (14)

  1. Added 17:48 November 25, 2011

    welcome back! but this time dont surrender your powers as you did when faced Mr. Zardari?

    tommy, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 17:00 November 25, 2011

    What you had given to Pakistan earlier/ Why you planing to go again and mislead Pakistani Nation?

    Rahimullah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 16:46 November 25, 2011

    Was he strong person? His strength was only because of Pakistan's Army, and this kind of strength everybody can acquire if fully supported by Army. May God save our beloved country from such people as well as from current government

    Abdul Gaffar, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 15:54 November 25, 2011

    I dont think that the present of Pakistan can afford another round of adventurism and one-man-shows. He had the longest opportunity, but he proved to be like any other politician, egoistic & sadistic.

    Kamran Hanif, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 15:18 November 25, 2011

    We all love you, you were a great leader of Pakistan and we wish to see you again.........so welcome back to Pakistan

    Nabeel ahmad, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 14:36 November 25, 2011

    Welcome back to Pakistan Sir...we need you, Pakistan needs you...please help us

    Danish Jafri, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 14:30 November 25, 2011

    Its is because of this very same General that our country Pakistan is in such deep crises. He should fight all the cases against him and then think of joining the politics.

    Ahsan, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 14:19 November 25, 2011

    I think it is a need of time. Only strong person like Gen/President MUsharraf can take Pakistan from chaos. All Pakistanis should support him if they want to save Pakistan and bring respect to Pakistanis.

    Ismail, Toronto, Canada

  9. Added 14:04 November 25, 2011

    Dear Musharraf, go ahead to Pakistan ........... dont worry nothing will heppend with you. As nothing happend to Zardari and other politician like nawaz sharif when back to Pakistan...Best of luck .....we all with you

    Arif Zaman , Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 13:49 November 25, 2011

    Ah, you can see Musharraf scurry back to Pakistan now that Imran Khan is gathering such amazing mass support. Does Musharraf really think staying outside Pakistan and going back in the last few months will come close to IK's genuine, consistent and ultimately successful rallying?

    Anam, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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