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Musharraf Planning Return to Pakistan, Faces Arrest


Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf will be arrested if he makes good on his pledge to return to Pakistan, according to government prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali, who told reporters Saturday the authorities would enforce existing arrest orders and take Mr. Musharraf into custody.

The arrest order stems from Mr. Musharraf's alleged connection to the 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. The former president blamed the attack on the Pakistani Taliban, but prosecutors have since said he played a role himself.

Mr. Musharraf has been living in self-imposed exile in London and Dubai since 2008. The former president and those close to him have hinted he will announce his return to Pakistan soon.

Despite living in exile, Mr. Musharraf leads his own faction of the All Pakistan Muslim League. He has talked about returning to Pakistan to lead the party and contest for leadership of the country in upcoming elections.

Also Saturday, current Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari said leaving office is not an option.

During a televised interview with Geo TV, Mr. Zardari said "no one has asked for resignation." He added that "if someone does, I will tell you."

Mr. Zardari's civilian government is facing mounting criticism over a secret memo appealing for American help to prevent a feared military coup.

Last month, Pakistan's Supreme Court appointed a three-judge panel to investigate the circumstances surrounding the unsigned document. The memo reportedly came from Pakistani ambassador to the United States Hussain Haqqani in May, following the U.S. raid in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden.

Haqqani, who is a close ally of President Zardari, was forced to resign over the matter.

The existence of the document came to light in October, when Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz wrote a column in The Financial Times accusing Haqqani of writing the memo and requesting that it be delivered to Admiral Mike Mullen. The admiral was the top U.S. military official at the time.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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