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Last Updated: Sat, 02.03.13 12:33

Musharraf to return to Pakistan this month

Former Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf
Former Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf

Former Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf has announced that he would return to the country later this month to take part in parliamentary elections, local media reported.

Musharraf, 70, has been living in exile in Britain and the United Arab Emirate since he resigned from his post in August 2008, fearing impeachment by the parliament. He had previously announced on a few occasions to end his exile but postponed the plan over concerns at his possible arrest in connection with the 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and several other cases.

Musharraf announced his return at a press conference in Dubai, which was aired live by Pakistani television channels. He did not announce exact date for the return but said that he will come back one week after the establishment of a caretaker government likely on March 16.

The current national assembly will be dissolved on completion of five-year term and new elections will be held within two months. "I will land either at Karachi airport or Islamabad," he said, flanked by several senior leaders of his All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) party. He said that his party will field candidates on almost all seats in upcoming general elections likely to be held in May this year.

"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 elections could only be held under the army.

An anti-terrorism court issued arrest warrant in 2011 for Musharraf in connection with the murder of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. In October last year, a court issued a warrant for his arrest over the killing of Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Bugti in a military operation in August 2006. Musharraf has denied all charges and will defend himself in courts.

Islamabad (Xinhua)