Pakistan`s Musharraf vows to return for 2013 poll

Pervez Musharraf does not have a big following at present in Pakistan.

Dubai: Pakistan`s exiled former president Pervez Musharraf plans to return to his country next year, despite facing possible arrest, in order to participate in a 2013 election, he told reporters on Friday.

"My plan is to land in Lahore on March 23 next year, if not earlier," he said, adding he would participate in the election the following year. The 2013 election is for Parliament, which selects the president in Pakistan.

Musharraf faces an arrest warrant in connection with the 2007 assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, apparently after a federal agency linked the former military ruler to the case, his spokesman said earlier this year.

"I run the risk of being arrested, but I will take the risk for Pakistan," he told reporters at a news conference in Dubai, adding that he had not tried to broker a deal to avoid arrest.

Musharraf was not popular when he left office and does not have a big following at present in Pakistan.

His announcement comes amid growing turmoil in Pakistan, after US special forces killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the country on May 02, souring relations between Washington and Islamabad over US suspicion its ally knew where he was.

Pakistan also suffered its first revenge attack over bin Laden`s killing on Friday. Taliban forces bombed a military academy in the northwest, killing 80 people.

Musharraf said he was sceptical any Pakistani intelligence officer knew of bin Laden`s hiding place but gave no further details.

"I doubt that anyone from intelligence would have known where he was, officers change every three years," he said.

Bureau Report

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