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Pervez Musharraf to return to Pakistan this month

Former president Pervez Musharraf has announced he will return within weeks to Pakistan, where he faces arrest on charges of failing to provide security for assassinated prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

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Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf prior to speaking at The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace October 26, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/AFP/Getty Images)

Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's former president and army chief, will return to his country this month, he has announced.

He faces arrest on arrival on charges that he failed to adequately protect former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated while campaigning in Dec. 2007, the BBC reported.

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Musharraf dismisses the allegations against him as "baseless." He has been living in Britain and the United Arab Emirates since resigning in Aug. 2008.

Addressing supporters via video link from Dubai yesterday, Musharraf said he would return to Pakistan between Jan. 27 and 30 to prepare for parliamentary elections. He was defiant about the threat of arrest, according to The Associated Press:

"I am coming to Pakistan but there are attempts to scare me off. There are baseless cases against me but we will face those cases in court."

According to the Economic Times of India, Musharraf's return is likely to heighten tension in Pakistan, where President Asif Ali Zardari – Bhutto's widower – is facing the military's anger over an unsigned memo sent to Washington asking for help stopping a supposed coup. Elections are not due until 2013, but there is widespread speculation that Zardari will be forced to call them sooner.

Musharraf is unlikely to be the one who succeeds him, however, said the Times:

Musharraf was widely disliked by the time he stepped down, and many of his supporters have since joined other parties. But he has money, and his army connections still count for something, even if it is unclear whether the current military leadership will support him.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/pakistan/120109/pervez-musharraf-return-pakistan-january