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Musharraf rallies supporters in Britain

world Updated: Oct 03, 2010 07:22 IST

Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf rallied supporters on Saturday in the British city of Birmingham, saying he wants to end his London exile and begin efforts to return to power in Pakistan, the BBC reported.

Musharraf, who ruled the country for nine years, on Friday launched a new political party, the All Pakistan Muslim League, asking the nation to forgive him for past mistakes.

He said though it was unclear when elections would take place, he would return to Pakistan for them. He has previously said he fears assassination if he returns.

"Now, I need to create an environment before I go there and that is what I am trying to do," he said.

Hundreds of other Pakistanis gathered outside the rally to protest Musharraf for his pro-America policies.

The 67-year-old army general who has been living in self-exile since 2008, when he was forced to quit power following democratic elections.

The launch came as political tensions are rising in Pakistan. The democratically elected government of President Asif Ali Zardari is facing criticism for its poor handling of the relief efforts for over 20 million people affected by the country's recent flood disaster.