Musharraf defers return to Pakistan

Dubai: Pakistan`s former president Pervez Musharraf has deferred his plans to return home from self-exile after repeated threats by the country`s leadership that the former general would be arrested upon arrival, an official of his party said today.

Heeding the advise of the executive committee of his party and his friends and supporters, Musharraf has decided to defer his return to his home country, the official said.

All Pakistan Muslim League secretary general Mohammed Ali Saif said told reporters that political developments in Pakistan took a turn following the announcement of his intention to return by the end of the month.

Saif said that the party has asked Musharraf to postpone his return home, "until the situation in Pakistan becomes conducive to the return."

68-year-old Musharraf had announced earlier this year that he would return to Pakistan from more than three years of self-imposed exile in London and Dubai, despite threats to arrest him.

There were also reports of senior officials from Pakistan visiting him in Dubai to dissuade him from taking the step.

According to Ali, the former president agreed to take into account the changed scenario in his country. "This decision of returning will be deliberated by the core committee of the party," he told reporters.

The party has concluded that "it would not be beneficial to the party`s interest that (former) president Musharraf returns to Pakistan" in the current conditions, he added.

Senior officials in Pakistan, including Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, had recently said that Musharraf will be arrested on arrival if he returned to the country. (more) PTI Corr

Gilani told CNN from the World Economic Forum in Davos today that Musharraf will "certainly" be arrested if he returns to Pakistan.

"The party has concluded that it would not be beneficial to the party`s interest that (former) president Musharraf returns to Pakistan in the current conditions," Ali said.

Musharraf faces two arrest warrants on his arrival in the country. An arrest warrant is pending against the former general for his alleged failure to cooperate in the probe of assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007.

Musharraf who left the country in 2009 is also an accused in the killing of Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Bugti in a military operation in August 2006.