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Musharraf's former Army colleagues backing his safe homecoming

Islamabad, Mon, 23 Jan 2012 ANI

Islamabad, Jan 23 (ANI): Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has finally managed to get the backing of his former military colleagues for his safe return to the country, at a time when many in his own party the 'All Pakistan Muslim League (APML)' raised doubts over his desired move.


The Pakistan First Group (PFG), whose formation was announced at the weekend by retired military personnel, has urged the government to provide Musharraf with the protocol of a former head of state, The Dawn reports.


The paper quoted a former Director-General of Pakistan's Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) and aide to former military ruler, Major General (retd) Rashid Qureshi, as saying that the PFG was a non-political entity, but he did not rule out a political role of the group.


"Originally, the PFG has been created as an apolitical pressure group to counter the propaganda campaign currently being run against the army and the ISI. However, we are witnessing clear undertones and the group may join politics in the coming weeks and months," Qureshi said.


Talking about Musharraf's possible return to the country, he said: "The other day I talked to the former president, who has yet to change his plans to return by the end of the month. But we will meet in Dubai on Jan 25 to take a final decision in this regard."


"The PFG unanimously supports the former president's plans to return to the country and take part in elections. They (PFG members) also resolved to stand against all those who are involved in casting aspersions on armed forces, especially the ISI," Qureshi added.


Reports had earlier suggested that Musharraf was forced to delay his planned return to the country from self-exile after he failed to get any assurances from the military and the Pakistan People's Party-led government about his security.


Two Pakistani courts had issued arrest warrants for him in cases related to the killing of Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Bugti and former premier Benazir Bhutto.


Top Pakistani officials had earlier said that Musharraf would be arrested as soon as he stepped off the plane if he attempted to return. The army had reportedly conveyed to the former military ruler that it may not provide him foolproof security on his return.


Yesterday, Musharraf claimed that he did not want to return to Pakistan with the help of any foreign power, army or the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).(ANI)


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