Musharraf returns to Pakistan from exile
KABUL (PAN): Amid tight security, Pakistan’s former military dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf landed at the Karachi airport on Sunday, ending a four-year exile -- thanks to the Saudi royal family’s intercession with his political foes.
Supporters and activists of his party All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) thronged the airport to welcome their leader, but the ex-general was not allowed to address a rally in the port city, reported a private TV channel, monitored here.
Express News quoted Musharraf as saying he had come back to put the country on the right track. Before arriving in Islamabad, he would stay in the port city for a couple of days to set up central and provincial committees of his party.
The homecoming of Pervez Musharraf, who seized power in a bloodless coup in 1999, received little media attention in Pakistan. He was accompanied by his spouse Sehba Musharraf.
At closed-door meetings with Saudi royals, top opposition leader Mian Nawaz Sharif agreed not to hamper the retired general’s homecoming, The Express Tribune quoted a close aide to Musharraf as saying. The
Pakistan army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, also recently visited Saudi Arabia to discuss the former president’s return and his participation in the May parliamentary elections. Musharraf met Saudi rulers separately to seek their help.
A day earlier, the Pakistani Taliban threatened to send him to hell on his return home. A spokesman for the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) said the organisation had set up squads of suicide bombers and snipers to kill the retired general.
Ehsanullah Ehsan said: “Suicide bombers are being trained and assigned to assassinate him.” Adnan Rasheed, who took part in a botched life attempt on Musharraf, has been tasked with training the suicide squads.
Before embarking on his flight, he told reporters at the Dubai airport he was aware of the TTP threat. However, the retired general asserted he was not scared of militants.
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