Musharraf to be arrested upon return: Malik

January 18, 2012

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Former president Pervez Musharraf. —Photo by AFP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will arrest former military ruler Pervez Musharraf should he return as announced at the end of the month from three years of self-imposed exile, the interior minister said Wednesday.

“I assure this house that if he lands in Pakistan, he will be arrested because he is a PO (proclaimed offender),” Rehman Malik told the upper house of parliament.

“There are three registered cases against him. He has been named in these cases, so ultimately he will be arrested.”

In a telephone address to a political rally in Karachi on Jan 8, Musharraf promised to fly home between Jan 27-30 to contest general elections now widely expected later this year.

“I’ll land in Karachi despite all sorts of dangers to my life,” he said. “I can sacrifice my life if need be for the people of Pakistan.”

Few in Pakistan are thought to want Musharraf to return, and the army has stopped short of publicly guaranteeing his safety against the arrest warrants.

A spokesman for Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) on Wednesday left the door open to the retired general changing his mind on returning.

“We are not afraid of arrests,” party official Mohammad Ali Saif told AFP.

“We are in consultation with party leaders in this regard and Pervez Musharraf will take the final decision.” The authorities in Karachi stood by the threat of arrest.

“We’ll go by the order of the court,” provincial home minister Manzoor Wassan told AFP in Karachi, capital of the southern province.

“We have made arrangements for him in prison,” he added.

A security official said forces had been ordered to tighten security from January 27-30 in Karachi “to avoid any untoward incident”.