Pervez Musharraf will be arrested if he returns to Pakistan

Yousuf Raza Gilani, the prime minister, has been summoned to appear at the
Supreme Court on Thursday to explain why he has not yet complied with its
order to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

At worst he faces five years imprisonment and disqualification from office,
but party insiders believe he will offer a compromise deal that will allow
his government to stumble on to elections in the autumn.

With the government hamstrung and a population battling gas and electricity
shortages, as well as rampant inflation, Mr Musharraf’s supporters believe
he offers the sort of firm leadership that can save Pakistan from imploding.

In a telephone address to a political rally in Pakistan’s largest city of
Karachi earlier this month, the 58-year-old former general promised to fly
home by the end of the month.

“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.”

At the time his aides said the charges against him were flimsy and would be
fought in the courts.

Two warrants have already been issued for his arrest.

He is wanted for the killing of Akbar Bugti, a rebel leader in the south-west
province of Balochistan who died in a cave hideout during an army raid in
August 2006.

And in February 2011, another court issued a warrant for his arrest over the
2007 assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister saying he
failed to provide adequate security to protect her on the day she was killed
in a suicide attack.

A third case was registered against him over his 2007 state of emergency and
detention of judges as he attempted to cling onto power.

Although his urbane manner makes him a popular chat show figure in London and
the US, critics point out he has little support among voters at home.

Nor can he rely on the military which propelled him to power in 1999 but which
now seems to be throwing its weight behind Imran Khan.

“He believes the people still love him but the reality is that he is
yesterday’s man,” said a retired officer on condition of anonymity.

On Wednesday, it also emerged that Pakistan has told Washington’s special
envoy to keep away as fallout from a cross-border air raid that killed 24
Pakistani soldiers in November shows no sign of easing.

Marc Grossman, the US special representative, is visiting Qatar and
Afghanistan this week to consult US allies on plans for exploratory talks
with the Taliban.

But Mark Toner, State Department spokesman, said Pakistan had asked that he
wait until its government had finished a review of relations with the US.

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