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Ex-Pakistan Ruler Musharraf Vows Return

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf

Exiled former Pakistani ruler Pervez Musharraf has vowed to return to Pakistan later this month, despite the possibility he could be arrested on criminal charges.

Musharraf, speaking to thousands of supporters in the southern city of Karachi on January 8 via video link from Dubai, said he planned to return to Pakistan between January 27 and January 30.

Musharraf said he intended to lead his recently formed political party, the All Pakistan Muslim League, toward elections due by 2013.

“I will be coming between the 27th and 30th of this month,” Musharraf told a cheering crowd. “And I also announce that I will come to Karachi. And God willing, I will stand in front of you and address you once again.”

Musharraf, a former general who seized power in a 1999 coup and went on to rule Pakistan as a military dictator and later as a civilian president, left to live in London and Dubai in 2008 after stepping down.

He faces a range of legal troubles in Pakistan, including allegations that he failed to provide adequate security for former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto before her assassination in 2007.

Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik told the dpa news agency on January 9 that Musharraf will be arrested "as soon as he lands in Pakistan."

A Musharraf spokesman, Fawad Chaudhry, dismissed the interior minister's threat.

compiled from agency reports