Musharraf vows to return before polls


Shrugging off arrest warrants and threats to his life from terrorists, former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf said he would end his self-imposed exile next year on March 23 and return to the country. In his address to his supporters at an Independence Day Iftar party in Dubai, he said there is nothing to fear. “Many people say there is danger to my life, but I have already encountered many such fears and threats during my career. And I’m not scared of these rumour-mongers. I’ll face the challenges and go to Pakistan. I have fought earlier and will fight again to win elections,” Musharraf said.
Former military ruler has been declared a proclaimed offender by Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in the assassination case of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. He has been accused of failure to provide adequate security to Bhutto and conspiring to assassinate her, however Musharraf denies these allegations.
“Today isn’t about me and it isn’t about my political party, this is Pakistan’s day,” Musharraf told nearly 2,000 supporters at Dubai World Trade Centre. “Today is a happy day. Today all Pakistanis should remember Quaid-e-Azam Muhammed Ali Jinnah and August 14, 1947,” he added. He said he remembered the birth of the nation vividly and could recall a train journey from his place of birth in the Indian city of Delhi to Karachi, a few days before partition. Upon his arrival he saw thousands of people at the station. “Everybody was crying and on that day I thought that was what freedom meant,” said Musharraf.
While quoting a speech by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, he said the duties of a government were to maintain law and order, tackle corruption and black marketers, improve religious tolerance and end nepotism and poverty. He added that none of these duties were being performed by Pakistan’s current leadership. Musharraf also expressed his disapproval at the religious and ethnic differences prevalent in Pakistan. “It should not matter if you are from Balochistan, Sindh or Punjab. We are all Pakistanis,” he said. On religious intolerance, the former president said there should not be discrimination based on religious identity.