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Musharraf Returns to Pakistan After Four-Year Exile

Pakistan's former president, Pervez Musharraf, has returned home for the first time in more than four years to take part in upcoming parliamentary elections.
After resigning in 2008, the former president went into self-imposed exile to avoid the possibility of arrest for his alleged involvement in the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
Mr. Musharraf denies any involvement in the 2007 incident, and says he was granted bail to avoid being arrested upon his return home.
On Sunday in Karachi, Mr. Musharraf had a defiant tone when he addressed his supporters.

"I have put my life in danger by coming back to Pakistan. I was thinking that the government would call me back, and would say, 'Save Pakistan,' but that did not happen. Today, my nation ordered me to come back. I came back, putting my life in danger, to save Pakistan."

The Pakistani Taliban had promised to kill the former president if he returned to Pakistan. In a video released Saturday, a Taliban representative said a hit squad is prepared to assassinate Mr. Musharraf.
While he was president, Mr. Musharraf angered the Taliban by maintaining close ties with the United States and backing its efforts to fight terrorism.

Mr. Musharraf had said several times that he would be returning to Pakistan but never carried out those plans. On March 1, however, he pledged to return this month, as soon as a caretaker government is in place.

Pakistan's parliament and federal and provincial governments completed their five-year constitutional term earlier this month. A caretaker government will steer the country until the parliamentary elections on May 11.

Mr. Musharraf has said he will lead his party, the All Pakistan Muslim League, in the elections.

The former Pakistani president took power in a coup in 1999 while he was serving as the country's top general.

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