Exiled former president Pervez Musharraf returns to Pakistan


Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf prior to speaking at The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace October 26, 2011 in Washington, DC.


Alex Wong

After more than four years in self-imposed exile, the former president of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf landed in Karachi Sunday.

He faces criminal charges, and the Taliban have vowed to unleash a "death squad" to kill him but Musharraf, who has survived several assassination attempts, has said he is not concerned, CNN reported.

In a speech to hundreds of people Sunday, he appeared upbeat and vowed to stay and fight for the nation, the New York Times reported.

“I respect your emotions,” he said, waving to the crowd.

“Thank you. Thank you,” he said as his supporters shouted “Long live Musharraf!”

“I have returned. People used to think that I would not return but I have come back.

“I am not scared of anyone but God.”

“I have put my life in danger, but I want to save Pakistan,” he added.

During his speech, heavily armed police stood nearby, and after his statement, he was whisked away to an undisclosed location for safety reasons. 

The Taliban militants have threatened to kill him upon his return, but as the New York Times reported, Musharraf has brushed aside the concerns for his life.

Earlier Sunday, there were scenes of jubilation at Karachi airport as people waited for him to return. People danced and waved the country's flag.

Musharraf, who quit as president in 2008 to avoid possible impeachment, ended his self-imposed exile vowing to contest May’s general election.

According to Bloomberg, he is widely seen as having strong chances of returning to power in the next elections.

"Musharraf's return adds one more dangerous dynamic to Pakistan's already incendiary politics," said Brookings Institution scholar Bruce Riedel.

"If he is arrested and tried for his past behavior, it could alarm the army. If he goes free, it will spark a backlash from both Sharif and Bhutto supporters."