x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Musharraf returns to Pakistan after self-imposed Dubai exile

Earlier this month, Pervez Musharraf said he would stand for elections to be announced by the interim Pakistan government within a few months.

DUBAI// Pervez Musharraf, the former president of Pakistan, arrived in Karachi this morning on a flight from Dubai.

Mr Musharraf boarded an Emirates flight at around 9.40am along with 250 people including Pakistani and international media as well as members of his political party.

"We have just landed at Karachi and there are a lot of people here, said Khurram Haris, Mr Musharraf's media aide, speaking to The National a few minutes after the plane arrived.

"We are still going through the airport and it is very busy."

Mr Musharraf decided to return from four years of self-imposed exile to contest the country's elections later this year.

In his most recent twitter update Mr Musharraf said: "The plane is approaching Karachi. Finally, I am coming home. Pakistan First!"

Media in Pakistan have reported that a rally scheduled to take place in Karachi for Mr Musharraf's All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) may have to be cancelled after a withdrawal of permission from police due to safety concerns.

Before his return Mr Musharraf received death threats in a video message posted online by Adnan Rasheed, a militant who was among 385 inmates freed when Taliban fighters stormed a Pakistani jail last April, and who has tried before to assassinate the former president.

It is unclear at this stage if Mr Musharraf will be arrested upon his return over allegations that he failed to provide enough protection for Benazir Bhutto, the ex prime minister who was assassinated in 2007.

Mr Musharraf came to power in a military coup in 1999. He was president from 2001 to 2008 and has since been in self-imposed exile.