Former Pakistan Prime Minister Pervez Musharraf has announced he'd return from overseas despite facing treason charges, and amid escalating tensions between the government and military leaders.
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Musharraf will be arrested on arrival, Bloomberg reports, citing a report from the Press Trust of India.
Musharraf is a “proclaimed offender” and there’s no need for a warrant for this arrest, PTI reported today, citing Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali, prosecutor at the Federal Investigation Agency. Musharraf lives in Dubai and London and plans to return to Pakistan on Jan. 25 or Jan. 27, according to the report.
Musharraf is subject to arrest because of allegations that he had a role in the conspiracy to assassinate former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007. His return will insert Musharraf into the center of an ongoing crisis that has the makings of a potential coup, the Daily Telegraph declares. Tensions have grown between the Pakistani military and civilian leaders, in part because of reports that the administration of President Ali Asif Zardari reached out for U.S. help to blunt the power of the generals to control the country.
The government and army are at loggerhead trading allegations over a memo allegedly sent to US military chiefs by senior officials asking for support to reduce military influence.
Yusuf Gilani, the country's prime minister, has said publicly Pakistan's generals are behaving as though they were a "state within a state".
Musharraf is not arriving quietly. Even as he hopes for a political comeback, Musharraf suggested Pakistan could align itself with Israel in a recent interview, remarks that Pakistan's Dawn said could damage Musharraf's standing with extremists in Pakistan.
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Speaking in favour of relations with Israel could make Musharraf more unpopular, especially among militants who made several attempts on his life with bombings because of his support for the US “war on terror” following the 9/11 attacks.
“There is nothing to lose by trying to get on Israel’s good side,” Musharraf, a former army chief, told the liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz in an interview carried on its website.
“Pakistan also needs to keep readjusting its diplomatic stand toward Israel based on the mere fact that it exists and is not going away.”
Musharraf's view is reflective, perhaps, of the realpolitik of a former world leader. While Pakistan supports creating a Palestinian state, that country and Israel have maintained "covert contacts for decades," Pakistani officials told Dawn.