Pervez Musharraf speaks at The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC. — AFP

LAHORE: About 100 retired army officers are getting ready to join former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf's All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) on his homecoming next month, Dawn has learnt.

The former president is set to return but will announce the date of his arrival during his address to a public meeting to be held on January 8 in Karachi.

'Yes, a good number of ex servicemen have shown their willingness to join my party on my return,' Gen Musharraf said in response to a question during a telephonic conversation with Dawn on Friday.

Answering a question about the criticism levelled at him in the past by some members of the Ex-Servicemen Society, he said: 'There were a few people who criticised me, but they have regretted their actions and now want to come along with me,' he said.

He said he would address the public meeting in Karachi through teleconferencing equipment. 'As I said earlier Iam determined to return to Pakistan. On the 8th I will announce the date of my return.

The former president said he expected the government to make adequate security arrangements for him.

'Security always remains an issue. I am making arrangements for my security... but the government should also ensure it,' he said.

Mr Musharraf said he took all the cases against him seriously but was determined to return. 'My legal team is working on the cases I am facing in Pakistan and let's see what the courts decide. I am taking the cases seriously and the impression that I do not care about them is not correct.

'However, the cases against me are baseless, as cases are filed in Pakistan without any concrete reason,' he said.

About Imran Khan's reported statement in which he ruled out any alliance with the APML, Mr Musharraf said: 'I say thank you very much to Mr Khan... I want to break the political status quoand Imran is also struggling for this. In Pakistan, the political status quo is the PPP and the PML-N and we all should unite to break this.

'And let me make it clear that if no one will come forward in this respect I will do it myself with the support of the people of Pakistan,' Gen Musharraf remarked.

Sources told Dawn that Gen (retd) Musharraf had asked his legal team, including Mohammad Ali Saif and Fawad Chaudhry, to particularly pursue the case against him in an Anti-Terrorism Court that had issued arrest warrants for him in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case.

The team was also likely to challenge the FIR registered against the general in the Akbar Bugti assassination case because the FC had carried out the operation against the late Baloch leader on the request of the Balochistan government.

The sources said the former president would return by the end of next month.