Party: Musharraf reassessing return home after government warning

Musharraf plans return to Pakistan

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    Musharraf plans return to Pakistan

Musharraf plans return to Pakistan 03:37

Story highlights

  • The announcement comes a day after Pakistan says it will arrest him
  • Interior ministry says the former president will be arrested as soon as he lands
  • He is wanted in connection with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto
  • Musharraf has rejected the accusations, saying Bhutto took unnecessary risks

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is reassessing a planned return home after the government warned he will be detained as soon as he sets foot in the nation, his political party said Thursday.

Musharraf, who has been in exile for three years, was scheduled to return between January 27 and 30, the head of the party said

Aides have advised him that the embattled government could use his return to divert attention from its political problems, prompting a reassessment of the dates, according to Muhammad Ali Saif, secretary-general of the All Pakistan Muslim League party.

The announcement comes a day after Pakistan reiterated it will arrest him if he returns home from his self-imposed exile.

Musharraf would be taken into custody the moment he lands in Pakistani in connection with the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, according to Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

The former military ruler resigned and fled Pakistan in 2008, and has been living in London and Dubai.

Saif has called Malik's threat an "empty" one.

"We are ready to face every situation," Saif said, adding that Musharraf plans to return.

Musharraf recently announced his intention to run in next year's elections in a speech to thousands of supporters in the southern city of Karachi via video link from Dubai. He said he accepted the risk of arrest and understood that his life might be endangered as well.

"It's not a bed of roses leading Pakistan, governing Pakistan," he said. "It's a thorny issue. ... It's very, very difficult. We are a country of many diversities, and as you said, you have to risk your life, and you have to burn midnight oil -- you have to work extremely hard to understand and to deliver. You are risking your comfort and your life."

Musharraf asked that he be judged on his entire record, not by the end of his presidency, when he was the target of protests and a coalition of opposition parties moved to impeach him. He left Pakistan shortly thereafter.

In 2010, the United Nations released a report that said Musharraf's government had failed to protect Bhutto before her 2007 assassination.

Musharraf has rejected the accusations, saying that Bhutto had police protection and took unnecessary risks. But a Pakistani court issued a warrant for his arrest.

Musharraf seized power in 1999 in Pakistan's third military coup and became the South Asian nation's fourth military ruler.

If he returns, it would be in the middle of a public squabble between Pakistan's civilian and uniformed leadership that was sparked by a memo that allegedly asked for U.S. help to rein in the all-powerful military.

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