x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Musharraf axes plan to return to Pakistan

The former president has been threatened with arrest by the nation's government if he returns to Pakistan.

DUBAI // Pervez Musharraf will not return to Pakistan as planned, his party said yesterday.

The announcement from the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) came as the nation's government stood by its threat that the former president would be arrested upon arrival.

At a press conference in Dubai, the APML said the "political situation was not conducive" for Mr Musharraf to go back.

"The government, opposition and most of the stakeholders in the present political situation are engaged in a tussle, conflict with one another" said Mohammed Ali Saif, the APML secretary general.

Mr Musharraf, the party's founder, lives in Dubai but was not present yesterday. Earlier this month he told a rally in Karachi, via a video link, that he would return between January 27 and January 30 to take part in parliamentary elections in 2013.

"It is an institutional conflict. If he returns, it will provide an escape route to political parties and divert people's attention," Mr Saif said. He blamed the turbulence on the "memogate" scandal, concerning a memo that purportedly sought US help to prevent Pakistan's army from staging a possible coup.

"There is serious tension between the Supreme Court and the government," Mr Saif said, asserting that Mr Musharraf's delay had nothing to do with the arrest warnings.

The party said the former general would however return as soon as the turmoil ended.