Officials in Pakistan are making arrangements to allow the country’s ailing former military leader Pervez Musharraf to return home from self-imposed exile, highly placed government sources said Monday.
An air ambulance will bring Musharraf back from a Dubai hospital in line with consent of his family and doctors, the sources told VOA. The exact date of arrival in Pakistan for the 79-year-old retired four-star general was not immediately disclosed.
The country’s powerful military institution “stands fully behind” the decision to facilitate the repatriation of its former chief, the sources said.
Musharraf’s family tweeted on Friday that he had been hospitalized for the last three weeks “due to a complication of his ailment.” The former dictator has been suffering from amyloidosis, a chronic metabolic disease in which abnormal proteins build up and damage organs such as the heart, kidney and liver, according to the statement.
On Saturday, Defense Minister Khawaja Asif, a vocal critic of Musharraf, said the general should face "no obstacle" for him to return home in view of his ill health.
“Past events should not be allowed to stand in the way. May Allah help him recover so he can spend his remaining life with dignity,” Asif tweeted.
On Twitter, Musharaf’s family wrote: “Going through a difficult stage where recovery is not possible and organs are malfunctioning. Pray for ease in his daily living. The family refuted media reports that Musharaf was on a ventilator.
Musharraf has been living in the United Arab Emirates since 2016, when he was allowed to travel abroad on bail for medical treatment. He was being tried on treason charges in a Pakistani court at the time.
The general seized power in a bloodless military coup in 1999, ousting the then-elected government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Musharraf later declared himself president and went on to rule Pakistan until after his political allies lost the 2008 general elections, forcing him to step down to avoid impeachment by the new parliament.
In 2020, a high court overturned the death sentence handed down to Musharraf in the long-running case, dismissing the legal process against him as unconstitutional.
The treason charges related to the suspension of the constitution and the imposition of emergency by the military leader in 2007, when he also placed several top Pakistani judges under house arrest in his bid to cling to power.
Musharraf won much-needed international legitimacy for his military in late 2001 when he quickly aligned himself with the U.S.-led war on terror in neighboring Afghanistan following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.
Pakistan allowed the United States and allied nations to use its air and ground routes as well as bases to stage the military action against landlocked Afghanistan and later transport supplies to thousands of Afghan-based international troops in the ensuing years.