Skip to main content

After 5 years away, ex-President Musharraf announces return to Pakistan

By CNN Staff
updated 7:22 PM EDT, Sat March 16, 2013
Activists of the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) watch former president Musharraf give a press conference March 1, 2013.
Activists of the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) watch former president Musharraf give a press conference March 1, 2013.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Pervez Musharraf says he'll fly to Karachi on March 24 to lead his party in elections
  • He's been in self-imposed exile since resigning as president in 2008
  • Pakistani authorities confiscated his property; he's accused of not protecting Benazir Bhutto

(CNN) -- Five years after he resigned as Pakistan's president and left the South Asian nation, Pervez Musharraf will return to the country intent on leading his party in upcoming elections, he announced Saturday.

Musharraf plans to fly on a commercial airline into Karachi on March 24, then attend a rally attended by 50,000 people including more than 200 Pakistani expatriates from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, he said in a statement.

He plans to lead his political party into Pakistan's general elections, which are slated for May.

Whether the rest of Pakistan welcomes him back, including the authorities now heading the country, remains to be seen.

Ex-president returning to Pakistan
Pervez Musharraf on Osama bin Laden
Musharraf: 'I will go back'

In 1999, the then chief of Pakistan's army became its president in a bloodless military coup. He remained in power until resigning in 2008 -- a period that included the U.S.-led invasion of neighborhood Afghanistan, starting a sweeping international war on terror -- then went into self-imposed exile in London and Dubai.

A few months before he left office, Benazir Bhutto -- who served two stints, in the late 1980s and 1990s, as Pakistan's first elected female prime minister -- was killed in a gun-suicide bomb attack as she was wrapping up a campaign rally in Rawalpindi.

This attack, coming two months after she survived an assassination attempt in Karachi, fueled criticism that Musharraf had not done enough to protect Bhutto's life despite numerous threats. The former military ruler has denied having anything to do with Bhutto's killing.

He's been targeted by Pakistan authorities, who in August 2012 confiscated his property and froze his bank account. A politician and prosecutor, according to media reports, have said Musharraf will be arrested as soon as he steps foot in Pakistan.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:19 PM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
updated 8:21 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
updated 10:50 AM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
updated 4:06 PM EST, Tue November 18, 2014
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
updated 2:45 PM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
updated 8:24 AM EST, Mon November 17, 2014
It's a very big challenge but NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan thinks it can be done.
updated 7:39 PM EST, Sun November 16, 2014
CNN's Atika Shubert explains how the most recent ISIS video differs from the other previous hostage execution videos.
updated 12:38 PM EST, Mon November 17, 2014
A Syrian cleric condemns ISIS and its execution of U.S. hostage Peter Kassig.
updated 12:20 PM EST, Sun November 16, 2014
Volunteer fighters in eastern Ukraine dig down just 800 meters from the front line.
updated 12:29 PM EST, Tue November 18, 2014
TV anchor wears the same suit for a year. Female colleague wears new outfit daily. Who gets criticized?
updated 7:04 AM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT