Musharraf pledges to return to Pak despite threats to life

Musharraf pledges to return to Pak despite threats to life

In a video address to workers of his new All Pakistan Muslim League party in Lahore, Musharraf said he had seen death from close quarters several times and was ready to face any contingency. He said no one could harass or cause any damage to him.

"I will be with you soon if you promise to show the same zeal and fervour at the time I land at Lahore airport," Musharraf said during the meeting last night as his supporters shouted slogans. Venue of the meet was decorated with banners and portraits of the former military ruler, who has been living in self-exile in London since 2009.

Referring to threats he might face on his return from the Taliban and other militant groups, Musharraf said he had already survived several attacks and was not afraid of them.

He linked his return to the organisation of the APML and announced the opening of the party`s office in Lahore.

"I have faced death a number of times and no one can deter me from coming back to the country to serve it as I am committed to doing something better for my countrymen," he said.

Musharraf, who quit as President in 2008 to avoid being impeached by the Pakistan People's Party-led government, recently formed the APML with an eye on contesting the 2013 general election.

He has vowed to come back to Pakistan on several occasions but is yet to set a date for his return. The former President chose the city of his arch-rival, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, for his latest effort aimed at boosting his political career. However, the APML convention did not attract more than a few thousand people.

Musharraf claimed the youth were with him and the APML could become a "third option" for voters. He also accused former premier Nawaz Sharif of always targeting his benefactors. He rejected as rumours reports that he was trying to approach Sharif and said it would be below his dignity to contact an "opportunist".

He added: "I’ve never contacted Nawaz nor will I do so in future." However, he hinted that the APML could look for support from "like-minded parties".

Musharraf urged the country to gear up for change, saying there was a need to introduce a new political culture to end the prevailing disappointment among the people. Such a change could be brought about only by the APML, he contended.