A day ahead of the scheduled return from exile of Pakistan’s former president, Pervez Musharraf, the Taliban has said it is ready to kill him when he arrives in the country. Musharraf is returning to contest elections.
Musharraf is scheduled to return from nearly five years of self-imposed exile in London and Dubai on Sunday. The Taliban in Pakistan have said they are standing by to kill him when he returns to Karachi.
According to an interview given by Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan to the AFP news agency on Saturday, the Taliban has "a special squad of suicide bombers for Musharraf. They will attack [him] after he arrives."
A video of Ehsan obtained by Reuters contained similar statements.
Musharraf is a Taliban target for his support of the US-led war on terror and for his opposition to militancy in Pakistan during his tenure as president. He seized power in a military coup in 1999 and resigned in 2008 when his party lost support in a vote that left him vulnerable to impeachment.
In addition to the threats from the Taliban, Musharraf is wanted by Pakistani courts in connection with, among other crimes, the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Bhutto was killed in 2007 a few months after her return from exile, and Musharraf is accused of falling short in efforts to guarantee her security. He denies the charges, and has been granted 10 days of protected bail upon his return to Pakistan, meaning he will not be arrested when he arrives.
Musharraf's return comes at Pakistan prepares for elections in May. The previous government's term ended a week ago.
mz/pfd (Reuters, AFP, AP)