Former President Pervez Musharraf on Friday announced that he would return to Pakistan within a week of the caretaker government assuming control after the incumbent dispensation steps down ahead of the elections.
The Pakistan Peoples Party-led ruling coalition is expected to step down on March 16 on completion of its five years and the dissolution of the National Assembly. As per the Constitution, a caretaker government will be in place to oversee the elections expected to be held this summer.
Mr. Musharraf — who ruled over Pakistan in various capacities for nearly a decade after staging a coup in 1999 — made this announcement in Dubai where he has been living in exile for the last few years. This is not the first time that he has announced his return and intention to contest in the elections. However, he faces arrest warrants in a couple of cases and that remains a deterrent.
Briefing the media in Dubai, Mr. Musharraf — the Chief of Army Staff when he overthrew the government of Nawaz Sharif and is also held solely responsible for the Kargil War — remained non-committal about his port of arrival. Maintaining that he could land in Rawalpindi or Karachi, the former General disclosed a preference for the latter, pointing out that this was Pakistan’s founding father Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s first port of call after Partition.