Musharraf to return to Pakistan this month

Last Updated: Fri, Mar 01, 2013 15:20 hrs

Islamabad, Mar 1 (IANS) Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf, currently living in exile in the UAE, announced Friday that he would return to his country later this month to take part in parliamentary elections, a media report said.

Musharraf, 69, has been living in exile in Britain and the UAE since he resigned aas the president in August 2008, fearing impeachment by parliament, Xinhua reported.

He had earlier on a few occasions announced he would end his exile but postponed the plans over concerns at his possible arrest in connection with the 2007 assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

Musharraf announced his plans at a press conference in Dubai, which was aired live by Pakistani TV channels.

He, however, did not announce the exact date for his return but said he will come back a week after the establishment of a caretaker government likely March 16.

The current National Assembly or lower house of Pakistani parliament will be dissolved on completion of its five-year term and new elections will be held within two months.

"I will land either at Karachi airport or Islamabad," said Musharraf, flanked by several leaders of his All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) party.

He said his party will field candidates for almost all seats in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

"My return is in the interest of Pakistan. The country's future is at stake and there is a need of a positive change in the country," Musharraf said.

He called for free, fair and transparent elections, adding that fair polls could only be held under the army.

The former army chief who seized power in a coup in 1999 said he would face courts on return and did not care if there was a threat to his life.

In 2011, an anti-terrorism court issued an arrest warrant for Musharraf in connection with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in a bomb blast. In October 2012, a court issued a warrant for his arrest over the killing of Baloch leader Akbar Bugti in a military operation in 2006.

Musharraf denies all charges and said he will defend himself in courts.

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