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Musharraf, facing arrest, postpones return to Pakistan

From Nasir Habib, for CNN
January 27, 2012 -- Updated 1912 GMT (0312 HKT)
  • Party: Pervez Musharraf is waiting for court cases against him to be resolved in Pakistan
  • Musharraf has lived in exile since 2008
  • The Pakistani prime minister says Musharraf will be arrested upon his return to Pakistan
  • The charges are in connection with Bhutto's assassination

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has postponed his return from exile until the political situation in Pakistan and the court cases against him are resolved, a senior leader in his party said Friday.

Another party source who is close to Musharraf but did not want to be named said Musharraf will not return in the next year and is stepping out of politics.

Musharraf has lived in exile in London and Dubai since resigning in 2008. He has vowed to return to his home country and run in upcoming elections, though his party recently said he was reassessing those plans after Pakistan's upper house of parliament demanded his arrest.

"Musharraf didn't want to postpone it; the party forced him to do this," said Muhammad Ali Saif, a senior leader in Musharraf's All Pakistan Muslim League. He said the party made the decision after two days of meetings in Dubai.

The party will decide Musharraf's plan for return once the political situation has been resolved, he added.

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The unnamed party source said there has also been talk within the All Pakistan Muslim League about whether to disband because Musharraf's supporters are "disheartened and frustrated."

Pakistan's upper house of Parliament passed a nonbinding resolution this week demanding Musharraf be arrested and tried for treason for unconstitutional acts during his regime, Sen. Muhammad Ibrahim Khan said.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Friday that Musharraf will "certainly" be arrested if he returns to Pakistan.

The charges against Musharraf are in connection with the 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. A U.N. report in 2010 accused Musharraf's government of failing to protect Bhutto, who had returned to Pakistan from exile to run for office.

Musharraf has denied the allegations, arguing that Bhutto had police protection and took unnecessary risks.

Pakistan is facing its most serious political crisis in years, with rapidly escalating conflicts between the civilian government, the military and the judiciary against the backdrop of a faltering economy, widespread poverty, corruption and the bloody war with Islamist militant groups.

CNN's Aliza Kassim contributed to this report.

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