Musharraf would be arrested if he returns to Pakistan: Gilani


    Amidst reports that former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has once again postponed his return to Pakistan, Yousaf Raza Gilani, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, has said that Musharraf will certainly be arrested if he were to return.

    “In fact, there had been murder charges against him, and there had even been some very grave charges against him, and the Supreme Court had already given a verdict against him,” Gilani was speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos. “Certainly when he’ll come back, he has to face those charges and certainly be arrested,” the prime minister said.

    Amidst a tense standoff between the government and the military, Musharraf had announced that he would be returning to Pakistan near the end of January. Now, reports indicate, that he may have put off his visit once again. Musharraf heads a party in Pakistan, and plans to contest elections as a civilian when he returns. But the current government, which has brought murder charges against him, and is comprised of people who were earlier either exiled or imprisoned by Musharraf, does not seem to be amenable to the idea of Musharraf’s return.

    Even the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Iftikhar Muhammad Choudhary, had suffered under Musharraf’s rule and it is unlikely that he would get any relief from that quarter.

    The Senate — the upper house of parliament — has passed a resolution demanding Musharraf be arrested and tried for treason for unconstitutional acts during his regime.

    Among the charges against Musharraf are the 2007 assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. A UN report in 2010 accused the Musharraf-led government of failing to protect Bhutto, who had returned to Pakistan from exile to run for prime minister.

    Musharraf, who has been living in London and Dubai since resigning in 2008, has denied the allegations. Gilani also said there were a “lot of challenges” in the war on terrorism, including militancy in the country’s northwest region.

    “We are fighting for our own selves, for our own survival, because these militants, they have killed 30,000 innocent people, 5,000 brave soldiers,” he said. The fight against terrorism has caused a “loss of economy”, the prime minister said.

    “Yes, we are fighting a war on extremism and terrorism, and we’re a frontline state, yes, there are a lot of challenges. But it doesn’t mean that there is no investment coming to Pakistan. We have offered very lucrative incentives for investment in Pakistan and there are a lot of investment coming to Pakistan,” he said.