LONDON / ISLAMABAD: Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf will not return to Pakistan in the near future. Musharraf changed his plan to return to Pakistan by the end of January on Thursday after almost three years in self-exile in London.
Leaders of Musharraf's All Pakistan Muslim League told the media that he had delayed his plans to return to Pakistan later this month after consulting friends and party leaders.
"Musharraf may not return to Pakistan this month. Close friends are advising him against returning now," said Muhammad Ali Saif, the former president's spokesman.
Addressing a political rally on January 8 in Karachi, Musharraf had promised that he would be back in Pakistan between January 27 and January 30 to take part in the general elections, expected to be held later in 2012.
Musharraf's announcement came just a day after Interior Minister Rehman Malik told the Senate or upper house of Pakistani Parliament that the former president would be arrested on return.
"The moment, he (Musharraf) lands, he will go to jail," he said. The minister was responding to several points of order raised by lawmakers, who demanded that action should be taken against the former dictator for treason as he had violated the constitution.
Malik had told CNN-IBN that the law will take it's own course and added that Musharraf was a proclaimed offender.
"Well it's not I say he is going to be arrested, it's the law. He is already been declared proclaimed offender in Benazir Bhutto's case. So obviously, law will take its own course. As of today, if he comes he will be arrested because he is a declared proclaimed offender," said Malik.
He proposed that the Senate could pass a resolution against Musharraf as he had violated the Constitution by imposing martial law on October 12, 1999 and an emergency on November 3, 2007.
Musharraf seized power in 1999 in Pakistan's third military coup but was forced to step down as President in August 2008 after the Pakistan People's Party formed a government following elections.
In October, a court issued a warrant for his arrest over the killing of Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Bugti in a military operation in August 2006.
Another court declared him a fugitive and issued a separate warrant for his arrest for failing to cooperate with investigators probing the 2007 assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto.
Malik told the Senate that the PML-N should lodge a complaint against Musharraf for toppling its government in 1999.
He appealed to the Supreme Court Chief Justice to take suo moto action against the former dictator for arresting judges after imposing emergency in 2009.
(With additional information from PTI)