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Musharraf faces possible arrest on return to Pakistan

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Lawyer says politicians should focus on solving current problems
  • Police file case over former president's order to arrest judges in 2007
  • Court would decide whether he is arrested or released if he were to return
  • Attorney says he plans to return to Pakistan after speaking tour
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf faces possible arrest if he returns, Pakistani officials said Tuesday.

Pervez Musharraf resigned as president of Pakistan in August 2008 amid impeachment threats.

Pervez Musharraf resigned as president of Pakistan in August 2008 amid impeachment threats.

Pakistani police registered a case Tuesday against Musharraf over his order to arrest and detain judges in late 2007, the Pakistani High Commission in London said.

As a result, "If Musharraf returned to Pakistan, he would face a court who would decide whether he is arrested or released on bail," a spokeswoman for the High Commission said.

The arrests and detentions came amid a state of emergency that Musharraf declared November 3, 2007, when he suspended the nation's constitution.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry declared the action illegal at the time, but shortly afterward Musharraf had him expelled from office. Critics said Musharraf sacked Chaudhry because he was preparing to nullify his election the previous month to a third term in office.

In all, about 60 judges -- including 14 of the 18 on the Supreme Court -- were dismissed, and thousands of protesting attorneys were either arrested or detained in their homes.

Musharraf, who resigned in August 2008 under protests and threat of impeachment, now lives in London, England.

His lawyer, Saif Khan, said Musharraf was in Europe on a speaking tour, after which he was planning to return to Pakistan. He gave no timeframe.

In a written statement, he said, "This is not a surprise to us, but it is unfortunate that Pakistan may be falling back into the old era of purely personal vendettas. The president's actions were made after consultation with the prime minister, governors of all four provinces, chiefs of the armed forces, and approved by the Pakistani parliament and validated by the Supreme Court.

"Today the nation faces great challenges, from battling the Taliban in the north to perpetual electricity blackouts across the country.

"President Musharraf presided over the greatest economic expansion in Pakistan's history. We believe government and politicians should be focused on solving the needs of Pakistanis, eliminating corruption, providing basic necessities, and empowering the people."

Pakistan's Supreme Court has declared Musharraf's 2007 emergency decree unconstitutional and ruled illegal all judicial appointments Musharraf made in the interim. It also has ruled that Chaudhry's dismissal was illegal and reinstated him.

CNN's Samson Desta in Islamabad, Pakistan, contributed to this report.

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