Pervez Musharraf keen to return to Pakistan

Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf has been living in London and Dubai since early 2009.

Updated: Sep 07, 2012, 13:03 PM IST

Lahore: Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf is keen to return to Pakistan from self-exile when an interim government headed by a "neutral" Prime Minister is formed ahead of the general election scheduled for early next year.

According to his party, the All Pakistan Muslim League, Musharraf has started contacting friends in the powerful Army and in political circles to assess the possibility of his homecoming under a caretaker set-up.

Musharraf, who has been living in London and Dubai since early 2009, dropped plans to return to Pakistan earlier this year after the Pakistan People`s Party-led government warned he would be arrested on arrival as a court had issued a non-bailable warrant for him in connection with the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto.

"In case of a neutral caretaker Prime Minister, it will be easier for Musharraf to take a flight back home," said an APML leader who did not wish to be named.

The former military ruler postponed his homecoming in January after the Army reportedly told him that his possible arrest and trial would be embarrassing for it.

Pakistani courts have issued warrants for Musharraf in connection with the deaths of both Bhutto and Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Bugti, who was killed in an Army operation ordered by the former President in 2006.

APML spokesperson Asia Ishaq said Musharraf is taking keen interest in developments related to the formation of a caretaker set-up and would announce his homecoming once it is installed.

The PPP-led government has indicated that a caretaker set-up would be formed by November or December.

The PPP and main opposition PML-N have not yet started consultations for the purpose.

According to the Constitution, if the government and opposition fail to reach consensus on an interim premier, a person will be appointed by the Chief Election Commissioner.

"Musharraf is in contact with his friends in political and non-political circles to discuss his return to Pakistan under an interim set-up," said Muhammad Ali Saif, a spokesman for Musharraf.

An interim set-up will not be hostile towards Musharraf, he said.

"Since the anti-Musharraf government will not be in power once the interim set-up is installed, the APML chief will also be in a better position to face cases in courts," Saif argued.