Washington, Mar 17: Former Pakistan President and ex-army chief Pervez Musharraf has announced on Saturday his return to the country – after almost five years of self-imposed exile – in order to lead his party in the upcoming elections.
Musharraf said in a statement that he plans to fly on a commercial airline into Karachi on Mar h 24 and attend a rally of 50,000 people, including more than 200 Pakistani expatriates from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, reports the CNN.
He plans to lead his political party into Pakistan’s general elections, which are slated for May. Whether the rest of Pakistan welcomes him back, including the authorities now heading the country, remains to be seen.
In 1999, Musharraf, the then chief of Pakistan’s army became the country’s president in a bloodless military coup. He resigned in 2008, during a period that included the U.S.-led invasion of neighborhood Afghanistan, and went into self-imposed exile in London and Dubai.
A few months before Musharraf left office, Benazir Bhutto – Pakistan’s first elected female prime minister – was killed in a suicide bomb attack in Rawalpindi. The deadly attack came two months after she survived an assassination attempt in Karachi.
Bhutto’s killing fueled criticism that Musharraf had not done enough to protect her life despite numerous threats. He, however, has denied having anything to do with Bhutto’s killing.
Pakistan authorities confiscated Musharraf’s property and froze his bank account in August 2012. (ANI)