Pakistan's former president Pervez Musharraf will return home on March 24 after nearly four years of self-imposed exile in Dubai, his press aide said on Tuesday, in time to take part in a parliamentary election. Musharraf seized power in a 1999 coup and resigned in 2008 when his allies lost a vote and a new government threatened him with impeachment. He left the country a year later.
The former army general faces the possibility of arrest in Pakistan on charges that he failed to provide adequate security to former prime minister Benazir Bhutto before her assassination in 2007. His press aide Khurram Haris told Reuters Musharraf would return to Karachi on a public flight on March 24, and would not be detained on his arrival.
"President Musharraf has made it clear that he will present himself to the courts because he believes he hasn't done anything wrong," Haris said. Pakistan's government would provide security for Musharraf, he added. The ex-president had already said he planned to return in March to take part in the election, but had not given an exact date.
He had also announced similar plans to return in January last year, but his aides advised him to hold off because of political instability in the country. Pakistan's parliament is due to be dissolved on March 16. An election has to be held within 90 days, allowing for a period for campaigning and other preparations.