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Musharraf to return only after Pak tensions subside

Former president Pervez Musharraf will return to Pakistan once the tensions between the government and the Supreme Court subside, a senior official in his All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) said on Friday.

Musharraf announced this month he planned to return home between January 27 and 30 and take part in a parliamentary election due to be held by 2013, but later said aides had advised him to delay his return due to political instability.

Mohammad Saif, secretary-general of APML, said Musharraf did not want his return to overshadow a contempt case being heard in the Supreme Court against Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani that could push him out of office.

The former President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, speaks at a news conference at a branch of his political party in east London. Reuters

“General Musharraf will return to Pakistan, that’s for sure. But we are waiting for the tension between the government and the Supreme Court to subside,” Saif told journalists in Dubai.

“The government, which is bogged down in court cases and has failed on both economic and political fronts, would try to wiggle out of this situation by diverting the attention to General Musharraf.”

He gave no date for Musharraf’s return.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Thursday adjourned the contempt hearing for Gilani which is adding to growing pressure on the unpopular civilian government.

Gilani was in court to explain why he should not be charged with contempt for failing to re-open old corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari. The government maintainsZardari has presidential immunity.

Saif said Musharraf was upset by the delay, but took the advice of his party and would stay in Dubai until his return home. Musharraf was not at the news conference.

Pakistan’s government also faces pressure from the military over a mysterious memo seeking U.S. help to avert an alleged planned coup last year.

Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 coup and briefly imposed a state of emergency in Pakistan before resigning in 2008, has been living in Dubai for almost three years.

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