News / Asia

Musharraf Returns to Pakistan After Four-Year Exile

Pakistan's former president, Pervez Musharraf, addresses a group of supporters following his arrival in Karachi March 24, 2013.Pakistan's former president, Pervez Musharraf, addresses a group of supporters following his arrival in Karachi March 24, 2013.
Pakistan's former president, Pervez Musharraf, addresses a group of supporters following his arrival in Karachi March 24, 2013.
Pakistan's former president, Pervez Musharraf, addresses a group of supporters following his arrival in Karachi March 24, 2013.
Ayaz Gul
Pakistan’s former military president Pervez Musharraf has returned home after four years of self-imposed exile. He is now running in upcoming parliamentary elections, despite death threats from Taliban extremists and pending legal challenges.
Former Pakistan army general Pervez Musharraf arrived in Karachi on a flight from Dubai, ending four years of exile. As was expected by many in Pakistan, only a few hundred supporters gathered outside the airport to welcome the man who seized power in a bloodless military coup in 1999, and who went on to rule the country for nearly a decade.  
Critics remain skeptical about Musharraf’s chances for a come-back. Many Pakistanis blame his policies for the country’s current energy crisis, economic hardships and rise in extremism. 
The former military man sounded upbeat about regaining political influence as he briefly addressed the small crowd shouting slogans in his support. General Musharraf mocked critics who said personal threats to his safety and pending legal proceedings would keep him away.
He said his opponents are trying to scare him, but he “only fears God and no one else”.  As the former military commando put it, “I have risked my life, but I want to save Pakistan."
Musharraf resigned as president because political forces that won the elections in 2008 had threatened to impeach him, and a few months later he left Pakistan.
Pakistani Taliban militants have threatened to kill Musharraf upon his return. While in power, the former general survived two assassination attempts by al-Qaida-linked extremists. Under his leadership Pakistan joined the U.S.-led war against Islamist extremists, and launched military offensives on militant sanctuaries in the country’s restive tribal belt bordering Afghanistan.
There are also several cases pending in Pakistani courts linking him to the assassination of former leader Benazir Bhutto and a key nationalist leader, Nawab Akbar Bugti, charges the former president has repeatedly denied. Musharraf’s legal advisors managed to arrange pre-arrest bail in all the cases, paving the way for his return on Sunday.

Upcoming poll
The former president arrived on a day when Mir Hazar Khan Khoso was appointed as a caretaker prime minister to lead the government until May 11, when national elections are to be held. 
Pakistan’s Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin Ibrahim made the long-awaited announcement at a crowded news conference in Islamabad, promising a free and fair vote.
“It is a very important issue. This gentleman is going to hold free and fair elections along with us.  No doubt he (Khoso) is the government, but he is also obliged to assist us in holding free and fair elections.”
Political parties have welcomed the appointment of 84-year old Khoso as the caretaker prime minister, a former chief justice of the violence-hit Baluchistan province. Speaking to reporters in Islamabad, the caretaker chief executive promised the upcoming elections will be held on time.
Khoso also urged nationalist groups from his home province of Baluchistan to take part in the political process. The resource-rich southwestern Pakistani region is plagued with a low-level Baloch insurgency.
Continuing violence there along with Taliban militant violence in the northwest is seen as a major threat to the elections.
This is the first time in Pakistan's history an elected government has completed its full term, and a democratic transition is set to take place after the May vote.

You May Like

Elusive Deal With Iran Could Yield Foreign Policy Legacy for Obama

A new Iranian leader -- and a strategic shift by the United States -- opens narrow window for nuclear agreement with Tehran More

Column: Saudi-Iran Meeting Could Boost Fight Against Islamic State

The fact that Iranians and Saudis are talking again does not guarantee a breakthrough, but it could make it easier to build a broad coalition against IS More

Thai Ruler Gives Top Cabinet Posts to Junta Inner Circle

Thailand's army chief has kept an iron grip on power as he extends the government, hand-picking an interim parliament that subsequently nominated him prime minister More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Kafantaris from: Ohio
March 24, 2013 11:32 PM
Musharraf is the only one around with the experience and wherewithal to save Pakistan.
And that he may die in his efforts to do so speaks of his sincerity.

March 24, 2013 10:53 PM
What is use of this election, if educated,professional and honest people cannot stand in this election because Taliban will kill them with in seconds after their announcement. It means only people with bad character can stand and win election. So it means our problem will remain unsolve even after election because un educated and crimnal will come AGAIN to increase personal bank balance in short time and then settle in Dubai or any place in western country.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.