Self-exiled former president Pervez Musharraf said he has decided to return to Pakistan in 2012, in order to participate in the 2013 elections.
“My plan is to land in Lahore on March 23 next year, if not earlier,” he said while addressing reporters at a news conference in Dubai. He added that he would participate in the elections the following year.
Musharraf faces an arrest warrant in connection with the 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, after the Federal Investigation 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 said, adding that he had not tried to broker a deal to avoid arrest.
In an earlier report, Musharraf had linked his return to Pakistan to the level of support his political party, the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), would be able to muster.
Addressing a rally of party workers in April, Musharraf said that in the first stage, the party would create liaison committees at the district and provincial level.
In the second stage, the party would decide to conduct a “show of strength” across the country. If the first two stages are successful, then the former president would make the decision to return to Pakistan.
In the third phase, Musharraf said he would lead the party in a campaign for the 2013 general elections. He claimed that the party would be able to win an absolute majority in the National Assembly.
With additional input from Reuters
Published in The Express Tribune, May 14th, 2011.