Former Pakistan president General Pervez Musharraf will return to his volatile homeland in January in order to rejoin politics and contest the next general elections whenever they are held.
A close aide of the former dictator told HT on Saturday: “Gen. Musharraf will end his self-imposed exile and return to Pakistan towards the end of January. As previously annou-nced, it is his intention to lead his party, the All-Pakistan Muslim League (APML), in the next parliamentary elections in Pakistan.”
Musharraf, who has been living in London and lecturing around the world since 2009, will be joined by a large number his Britain-based supporters on what the aide described as a “history-making journey”, akin to the late Benazir Bhutto’s return from exile in 2007.
She was greeted with tumultuous and delirious crowds that attested to her continuing popularity despite the many charges of corruption against her and her husband Asif Ali Zardari.
But Musharraf will be hoping that the parallels end there. Bhutto’s motorcade from Karachi airport came under a suicide bomb attack that killed 136 people, and three months later, she herself was assassinated. The current administration in Islamabad, headed by Zardari, blames the general, who was then president of Pakistan, for the assassination.
In an interview to HT in 2010, Musharraf spoke of his plans to return but shrugged off threats to his life saying: “The threat of assassination is always there.”
Musharraf has said that 100 retired army officers are ready to join his party. Nevertheless, he faces formidable challenges in Pakistan. To start with, Zardari has threatened to launch criminal proceedings against him if he returns.