Skip to main content

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

By CNN Staff
March 16, 2013 -- Updated 2322 GMT (0722 HKT)
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
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 1255 GMT (2055 HKT)
Tichleman 1
A makeup artist, writer and model who loves monkeys and struggles with demons.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
Lionel Messi's ability is not in question -- but will the World Cup final allow him to emerge from another footballing legend's shadow?
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 1029 GMT (1829 HKT)
Why are Iraqi politicians dragging their feet while ISIS militants fortify their foothold across the country?
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 1332 GMT (2132 HKT)
An elephant, who was chained for 50 years, cries tears of joy after being freed in India. CNN's Sumnima Udas reports.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 0732 GMT (1532 HKT)
Beneath a dusty town in northeastern Pakistan, CNN explores a cold labyrinth of hidden tunnels that was once a safe haven for militants.
July 10, 2014 -- Updated 2249 GMT (0649 HKT)
CNN's Ravi Agrawal asks whether Narendra Modi can harness the country's potential to finally deliver growth.
July 10, 2014 -- Updated 0444 GMT (1244 HKT)
CNN's Ben Wedeman visits the Yazji family and finds out what it's like living life in the middle of conflict.
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 1423 GMT (2223 HKT)
Israel has deployed its Iron Dome defense system to halt incoming rockets. Here's how it works.
Even those who aren't in the line of fire feel the effects of the chaos that has engulfed Iraq since extremists attacked.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 1634 GMT (0034 HKT)
People walk with their luggage at the Maiquetia international airport that serves Caracas on July 3, 2014. A survey by pollster Datanalisis revealed that 25% of the population surveyed (end of May) has at least one family member or friend who has emigrated from the country. AFP PHOTO/Leo RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Plane passengers are used to paying additional fees, but one airport in Venezuela is now charging for the ultimate hidden extra -- air.
ADVERTISEMENT