Ex-Army officers ready to join my party: Mush



Ex-Army officers ready to join my party: Mush Lahore: Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has said "a good number of ex-servicemen" are ready to join his party on his planned homecoming next month from self-exile abroad, amid reports that some 100 retired senior Army officers have shown willingness to do so.

Musharraf, who has been living in self-exile since early 2009, said he will announce a date for his return when he addresses a public meeting in Karachi through video-conferencing on January 8.

"As I said earlier, I am determined to return to Pakistan in January and I am going to announce the date on January 8," he told a news agency by phone from Dubai.

Musharraf said "a good number of ex-servicemen have shown their willingness" to join his All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) party.

His comments came as local media reported that about 100 retired Army officers were getting ready to join Musharraf's party.

Asked about criticism of his actions by an ex-servicemen's society, Musharraf said: "They were few in numbers and they have regretted that. Now they want to come along with me."

Sources said Musharraf, during his January 8 address, is expected to announce that he will return in the last week of January.

The former President, who was forced to resign in 2008 to avoid impeachment, made it clear that he was ready to face all legal charges or even arrest on his homecoming.

"My legal team is working on the cases I am facing in Pakistan and let's see what the courts decide. I am taking the cases seriously and the impression that I do not bother about them is not correct," he said.

"However, the cases against me are baseless as cases are made in Pakistan without any solid reason," he said.

The former Army chief said he had noted Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan's remarks that he was not interested in forming an alliance with the APML.

"I say thank you very much to Mr Khan if he thinks so. I want to break the political status quo and Imran Khan is also struggling for this," Musharraf said.

"In Pakistan, the name of the political status quo is the Pakistan People's Party and PML-N. We all need to be united to break this. And let me make it clear that if no one will come forward to do this, I will do it myself with the support of the people of Pakistan," Musharraf asserted.

Musharraf has asked the PPP-led government to provide him security on his return.

"Security always remains an issue. I am making arrangements for my security back home but the government should also ensure it," he said.

Sources said Musharraf had asked his legal team comprising lawyers Muhammad Ali Saif and Fawad Chaudhry to vigorously pursue the case against him in an anti-terrorism court, which issued an arrest warrant for him for failing to cooperate with investigators probing the 2007 assassination of former Premier Benazir Bhutto.

The team would also challenge the FIR filed in connection with the killing of Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Bugti during an operation in 2006.

The FIR states that the paramilitary Frontier Constabulary carried out the operation at the request of the provincial government.

PTI