by Jason Ditz
‘After a decisive win in this weekend’s election, Pakistani politician Nawaz Sharif is set to form a record third government in his 30 year political career. In exile before the last election, Sharif’s return shows he is nothing if not a survivor.
But Sharif is also one half of the most fierce rivalries in the nation’s history, one against Pakistan’s powerful and largely independent military. There is a reason that the three-time ruler is seeing only the first peaceful transition of power between civilian governments in Pakistan’s history.’
by Jason Ditz
‘The London Metropolitan Police are threatening to jail a high profile Pakistani politician today after a speech he made earlier this week regarding internal Pakistani policy sparked “complaints” from British citizens.
[...] British High Commission Adam Thomson claimed that Hussain’s speech about even the possibility of the secession of Karachi could violate Britain’s own law against “hate speech,” even though the speech was about Pakistani politics, made inside Pakistan, by a Pakistani politician.’
by DECLAN WALSH
The New York Times
‘Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, once a political exile deposed by the military, returned to the cusp of power on Saturday, taking a commanding lead in a parliamentary election in which Pakistanis braved Taliban intimidation to cast ballots with historic prospects for the country’s democracy.
Record turnout was reported in several cities, incited by an energized political campaign dominated by the battle between Mr. Sharif and Imran Khan, the former cricket star whose appeal as an anticorruption crusader had many predicting he could play a kingmaker role.
But even with just partial returns in early Sunday, Mr. Sharif’s party appeared to have secured enough seats to form a government easily. His supporters ran cheering through the streets of Lahore, honking horns and, in some instances, firing bursts of celebratory gunshots.
While the raucous election highlighted the vibrancy of Pakistani politics, it also drew attention to the gaping holes in the country’s democracy.’
by Katharine Houreld and Mehreen Zahra-Malik
‘A string of militant attacks and gunfights that killed at least 17 people cast a long shadow over Pakistan’s general election on Saturday, but millions still turned out to vote in a landmark test of the troubled country’s democracy.
The poll, in which some 86 million people are eligible to vote, will bring the first transition between civilian governments in a country ruled by the military for more than half of its turbulent history.
Despite the searing heat, many went to the polls excited about the prospect of change in a country that is plagued with Taliban militancy, a near-failed economy, endemic corruption, chronic power cuts and crumbling infrastructure.’
by DECLAN WALSH
The New York Times
‘Gunmen on Friday fatally shot a Pakistani prosecutor who had been investigating the murder of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and the 2008 Mumbai attacks, carrying out an assassination that threw into turmoil Pakistan’s most politically charged cases.
Assailants opened fire on Chaudhry Zulfikar Ali as he drove to work from his home in a suburb of the capital, Islamabad, for a court hearing in which the former military leader, Pervez Musharraf, faces charges in relation to Ms. Bhutto’s death in 2007.’
by Michael Georgy
‘Pakistan’s powerful army chief has suggested the military is unhappy with how authorities have treated former army chief and president Pervez Musharraf since his return from exile.
A Pakistani court on Tuesday imposed a lifetime ban on Musharraf from contesting elections, undermining his efforts to regain influence by winning a seat in parliament.
The former army chief returned in March after nearly four years of self-imposed exile to contest a May 11 general election, but election officers disqualified him because of court cases pending against him.’
‘Pakistani investigators said Tuesday that they have “solid evidences” against former President Pervez Musharraf in connection with the killing of ex-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto as a court ordered Musharraf to remain in judicial lock-up for two more weeks, local media reported.
Musharraf was not produced before the Anti-Terrorism Court on Tuesday over security concerns and the judge passed the order in his absence.
Musharraf, who ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008 and returned from self-exile last month, has been accused of failing to provide adequate security to Benazir Bhutto when she returned to Pakistan from exile in 2007.’
An anti-terrorist court in Rawalpindi has ordered former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf to be made part of the investigations into former premier Benazir Bhutto’s assassination.
It was the first time on Tuesday that the former military ruler appeared before the anti-terrorist court over Bhutto’s murder.
Musharraf was driven to the court in Rawalpindi from his plush villa on the edge of Islamabad where he is serving a two-week arrest order.
Musharraf is accused of conspiracy to murder Bhutto, who died in a gun and suicide attack in December 2007. It is one of a barrage of legal cases he is fighting in the courts since returning home last month after four years in self-imposed exile.
by Pepe Escobar
Construction is nearing completion on a natural gas pipeline linking Iran and Pakistan, a project that portends a huge geopolitical shift. As regional powers strengthen ties in this key energy market, they’re looking to China, and away from the West.
Since the early 2000s, analysts and diplomats across Asia have been dreaming of a future Asian Energy Security Grid.
This – among other developments – is what it’s all about, the conclusion of the final stretch of the $7.5 billion, 1,100-mile natural gas Iran-Pakistan (IP) pipeline, starting from Iran’s giant South Pars field in the Persian Gulf, and expected to be online by the end of 2014.
Nobody lost money betting on Washington’s reaction; IP would put Islamabad in “violation of United Nations sanctions over [Iran’s] nuclear program.” Yet this has nothing to do with the UN, but with US sanctions made up by Congress and the Treasury Department.
Sanctions? What sanctions? Islamabad badly needs energy. China badly needs energy. And India will be extremely tempted to follow, especially when IP reaches Lahore, which is only 100 km from the Indian border. India, by the way, already imports Iranian oil and is not sanctioned for it.
Pakistan’s former military leader Pervez Musharraf flees court as it orders his arrest ~ Independent
He returned saying he would save Pakistan. He ended fighting to save himself.
Pakistan’s former military leader Pervez Musharraf was last night facing ignominy and disgrace having fled from an Islamabad court that had ordered his arrest. Some reports suggested that the farmhouse to which he fled could be declared a “sub-jail”.
Earlier in the day, in scenes that bordered on farce, judges at the Islamabad High Court ordered that bail he had been granted by another court should be revoked and that police should take him into custody. But before they could act, the former commando was hurried away by his security team and he sped off in a black SUV.
by Trevor Lyman
My heart goes out to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, one of whom was an eight year old little boy named Martin Richard who had so much life in front of him.
What a terrible and senseless tragedy. I can’t let myself think about it for too long without welling up inside.
While my timing in saying what I’m about to say may seem harsh to some, now is the only time to make this point.
For the people of Pakistan the Boston Marathon bombing happens nearly every day. Sometimes it’s a lesser bomb and fewer people are killed or injured. Sometimes it’s a much larger bomb like one example that left nearly seventy children dead at one time (that’s about three times the loss of children that happened in Sandy Hook).
Can you imagine?
by Paul Joseph Watson
[...] while bellicose threats are being carelessly traded by both sides and eagerly regurgitated by the mainstream media, the question of how exactly North Korea acquired its nuclear capability in the first place has been completely ignored.
Both the Clinton and Bush administrations played a key role in helping the late Kim Jong-Il develop North Korea’s nuclear prowess from the mid 1990′s onwards.
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld presided over a $200 million dollar contract to deliver equipment and services to build two light water reactor stations in North Korea in January 2000 when he was an executive director of ABB (Asea Brown Boveri). Wolfram Eberhardt, a spokesman for ABB confirmed that Rumsfeld was at nearly all the board meetings during his involvement with the company.
Rumsfeld was merely picking up the baton from the Clinton administration, who in 1994 agreed to replace North Korea’s domestically built nuclear reactors with light water nuclear reactors. Clinton policy wonks claimed that light water reactors couldn’t be used to make bombs. Not so according to Henry Sokolski, head of the Non-proliferation Policy Education Center in Washington, who stated, “LWRs could be used to produce dozens of bombs’ worth of weapons-grade plutonium in both North Korea and Iran. This is true of all LWRs — a depressing fact U.S. policymakers have managed to block out.”
“These reactors are like all reactors, they have the potential to make weapons. So you might end up supplying the worst nuclear violator with the means to acquire the very weapons we’re trying to prevent it acquiring,” said Sokolski.
The U.S. State Department claimed that the light water reactors could not be used to produce bomb grade material and yet in 2002 urged Russia to end its nuclear co-operation with Iran for the reason that it didn’t want Iran armed with weapons of mass destruction. At the time, Russia was building light water reactors in Iran. According to the State Department, light water reactors in Iran can produce nuclear material but somehow the same rule doesn’t apply in North Korea.
In April 2002, the Bush administration announced that it would release $95 million of American taxpayer’s dollars to begin construction of the ‘harmless’ light water reactors in North Korea. Bush argued that arming the megalomaniac dictator Kim Jong-Il with the potential to produce a hundred nukes a year was, “vital to the national security interests of the United States.” Bush released even more money for the same purpose in January 2003.
Bush released the funds despite the startling revelation, reported by South Korean newspapers, that a North Korean missile warhead had been found in Alaska.
Construction of the reactors was eventually suspended, but North Korea had an alternative source through which they could obtain the nuclear secrets vital to building an atom bomb arsenal – CIA asset and international arms smuggler AQ Khan.
In 2004, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan’s atom bomb program, admitted sharing nuclear technology via a worldwide smuggling network that included facilities in Malaysia which manufactured key parts for centrifuges.
Khan’s collaborator B.S.A. Tahir ran a front company out of Dubai that shipped centrifuge components to North Korea.
Despite Dutch authorities being deeply suspicious of Khan’s activities as far back as 1975, the CIA prevented the Dutch from arresting him on two separate occasions.
“The man was followed for almost ten years and obviously he was a serious problem. But again I was told that the secret services could handle it more effectively,” former Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers said. “The Hague did not have the final say in the matter. Washington did.”
Lubbers stated that Khan was allowed to slip in and out of the Netherlands with the blessing of the CIA, eventually allowing him to become the “primary salesman of an extensive international network for the proliferation of nuclear technology and know-how,” according to George W. Bush himself, and sell nuclear secrets that allowed North Korea to build nuclear bombs.
“Lubbers suspects that Washington allowed Khan’s activities because Pakistan was a key ally in the fight against the Soviets,” reports CFP.
“At the time, the US government funded and armed mujahideen such as Osama bin Laden. They were trained by Pakistani intelligence to fight Soviet troops in Afghanistan. Anwar Iqbal, Washington correspondent for the Pakistani newspaper Dawn, told ISN Security Watch that Lubbers’ assertions may be correct. “This was part of a long-term foolish strategy. The US knew Pakistan was developing nuclear weapons but couldn’t care less because it was not going to be used against them. It was a deterrent against India and possibly the Soviets.”
In September 2005 it emerged that the Amsterdam court which sentenced Khan to four years imprisonment in 1983 had lost the legal files pertaining to the case. The court’s vice-president, Judge Anita Leeser, accused the CIA of stealing the files. “Something is not right, we just don’t lose things like that,” she told Dutch news show NOVA. “I find it bewildering that people lose files with a political goal, especially if it is on request of the CIA. It is unheard of.”
In 2005, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf acknowledged that Khan had provided centrifuges and their designs to North Korea.
Through their policies in aiding North Korea to build light water reactors, and via the CIA asset AQ Khan who was protected at every step of the way while he helped provide North Korea with the means to build a nuclear arsenal, the U.S. government itself was directly complicit in providing North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il and now his successor Kim Jong-un with the nuclear weapons that have now caused an international crisis with the Korean peninsula on the brink of war.
Given the documented history of the United States’ role in arming North Korea with the very weapons the reclusive state is now threatening to use against Americans, the constant drumbeat of fearmongering by the US media about North Korea’s intentions is missing a huge part of the story.
A trove of leaked classified reports has confirmed what many had suspected – US drone kills in Pakistan are not the precision strikes against top-level al-Qaeda terrorists they are portrayed as by the Obama administration.
Instead, many of the attacks are aimed at suspected low-level tribal militants, who may pose no direct danger to the United States – and for many there appears to be little evidence to justify the assassinations.
Top secret documents obtained by McClatchy newspapers in the US show the locations, identities and numbers of those attacked and killed in Pakistan in 2006-8 and 2010-11, as well as explanations for why the targets were picked.
The statistics illustrate the breadth of the US ‘drone doctrine’ – which has never been defined by consecutive US administrations. Between 1,990 and 3,308 people are reported to have been killed in the drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004, the vast majority of them during the Obama terms.
by Cassie Ryan
Beijing on Monday denied that a recently reported agreement with Pakistan to build a third civilian nuclear plant at Chashma is in violation of its treaty with the global body that governs nuclear trade.
The guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) are voluntary, without an enforcement mechanism, and China agreed not to sell any more reactors to Pakistan when it became a member in 2004. The United States is the group’s current rotating head.
Under the guidelines, China is only allowed to make nuclear sales to nations that are part of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Pakistan does not have the safeguards in place to meet that body’s requirements.
The Obama administration hoped to block the sale, which has been in the pipeline for several years, as it could advance Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program. U.S. intelligence reports cited by the Washington Free Beacon on Friday suggest the Chinese regime told state cadres and officials in Pakistan to keep the contentious deal under wraps and allow the smooth transition of its leadership change earlier this month.
According to the reports, China also directed the Pakistanis to keep quiet the recent transfer of Gwadar, a key port near the Persian Gulf, into Chinese control. U.S. officials believe the port could be used by Chinese warships.
by Tahir Khan
Pakistan on Wednesday conducted a successful launch of the Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile, which can carry nuclear warheads, the military said.
The missile is capable of carrying nuclear and conventional warheads to a range of 900 kilometers, an army statement said.
“Pakistan today conducted a successful launch of the Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile Hatf IV Shaheen-1 Weapon System,” a statement from the army’s Inter-Services Public Relations said.
by John Glaser
One notable little nugget from Mark Mazzetti’s latest piece in The New York Times is the following, which gives added weight to warnings of blowback resulting from the Obama administration’s drone war:
…the map of Islamic militancy inside Pakistan had been redrawn in recent years, and factions that once had little contact with one another had cemented new alliances in response to the C.I.A.’s drone campaign in the western mountains. Groups that had focused most of their energies dreaming up bloody attacks against India were now aligning themselves closer to Al Qaeda and other organizations with a thirst for global jihad.
Not only is the cruel nature of the drone war, with its massive civilian casualties, a motivation for unaffiliated locals to join the ranks of al-Qaeda, but other regional terror groups from the other side of Pakistan “cemented new alliances” with those in the Northwest Frontier Province as a result of the decade long bombing campaign.
Pakistan’s top court has ordered former military ruler Pervez Musharraf to respond to allegations he committed treason.
On Tuesday, judges at the Supreme Court will consider an application to have him put on trial for imposing emergency rule and arresting judges in 2007.
The order comes after he was approved to run in next month’s polls.
But he has also been barred from leaving the country – two weeks after he returned from self-imposed exile.
Mr Musharraf – who led a military government from 1999 until 2008 – had lived in Dubai and London and returned to run in the forthcoming parliamentary elections despite outstanding court cases against him.
Gold imports during first eight months of current fiscal year surged by 48.2 percent as against the same period of last year.
About 2,645 kilogramme (kg) of gold worth of $143.633 million was imported during the period under review as compared to the import of 1,805 kg valuing $96.917 million during same period of last year 2011-12.
by Jason Ditz
The relationship between Pakistan and the Karzai government seems to always be around a “new low,” ties seem to keep finding a way of getting worse, as an abortive attempt to start peace talks with the Taliban has both sides trading blame.
Afghan officials say that the situation is completely stalemated because the Pakistani government is placing its own preconditions on the peace talks, while Pakistan maintains they are committed to the process and it is Taliban distrust of Karzai that is stalling everything.
Pakistan is believed to be conditioning their help on certain considerations, centering in particular on reducing India’s military ties to Afghanistan and replacing them with their own ties.
This is at the center of Pakistan’s “Afghanistan problem” since the NATO occupation began, with the Pakistani military long centering their planning for a regional war with India on being able to fall back into allied Afghanistan. India’s cozy relationship with Karzai has left Pakistan fearing they are surrounded.
Angelina Jolie paid glowing tribute to the Pakistani teenager who was shot by the Taliban for advocating for girls’ education, introducing Malala Yousafzai to the Women in the World summit via a new video from Britain.
“Today I’m going to announce the happiest moment of my life,” the 15-year-old said, at one point shyly covering her face with her hands. She said a new school in Pakistan would be built for 40 girls. “Let us turn the education of 40 girls into 40 million girls,” she said.
Jolie committed $200,000 to the new “Malala’s Fund” for girls’ education in Pakistan.
Malala was already known for her activism when she was shot in the head in October by Taliban attackers angered by her outspokenness in a deeply conservative society.
She was brought to Britain for treatment, including skull reconstruction. She was released last month and has started attending school there. She was shortlisted for Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” in 2012 and recently signed a deal to write her memoir.
The United States says Pakistan may face economic sanctions over a gas pipeline project with Iran. The $7 billion project is meant to help reduce Pakistan’s crushing energy deficit.
After nearly 20 years, there is considerable progress on the Iran-to-Pakistan “peace pipeline,” with Iranian contractors starting work on Pakistani sections of the project, having finished nearly 900 kilometers of pipeline in Iran.
That is of concern to the United States, which is backing international sanctions against Iranian energy exports because of its nuclear program.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the gas pipeline has nothing to do with the nuclear program.
More Pakistani youth would prefer Islamic law or military rule than democracy, a survey suggests.
More than half of 5,000 18-29 year-old Pakistanis polled said democracy had not been good for them or the country.
Some 94% said Pakistan was going in the wrong direction, up from 50% in 2007, the British Council survey found.
Almost a third of registered voters in Pakistan are under 30 years old, and are expected to play a big part in a general election due in May.
When asked to pick the best political system, both Sharia and military rule were favoured over democracy.
The survey points towards a pessimistic generation, disenchanted with democracy after five years of civilian rule, says the BBC’s Orla Guerin in Islamabad.
Most of those surveyed had more faith in the army than any other institution.
Approval ratings for the military were about 70% compared with just 13% for the government.
A quarter of respondents said they had been directly affected by violence, or had witnessed a serious violent event.
That figure rose to more than 60% in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.
The greatest concern for most was rising prices, not terrorism: Almost 70% said they were worse off now than five years ago.
While many young people are registered to vote, less than half of those surveyed said they were certain they would do so.
Gunmen in Pakistan on Monday set ablaze five trucks carrying Nato equipment out of Afghanistan as the international military alliance winds down its combat mission there, officials said.
Four masked gunmen on two motorbikes opened fire at the vehicles, forcing them to stop and then doused them in petrol to set them on fire in the southwestern province Baluchistan.
“Five Nato trucks were carrying Nato equipment back. Gunmen first fired on the first vehicle and then sprinkled petrol on all of them,” Iftikhar Bugti, a senior government official told AFP by telephone.
The incident happened in Bolan district, around 120kms southeast of Quetta, the provincial capital.
“All five trucks have been almost completely destroyed,” Bugti said. One driver was slightly injured in the attack, he added.
A court in Pakistan has extended bail for former President Pervez Musharraf, amid chaotic scenes in which a shoe was thrown at him.
It is the first time the ex-military ruler has sat before a court to defend himself against charges of conspiracy to murder and the sacking of judges.
The shoe, which did not hit Mr Musharraf, was thrown as his supporters and opponents both chanted slogans.
Last week he returned from self-imposed exile to contest forthcoming polls.
Shortly before his return he was granted protective bail for 10 days in three cases.
Correspondents say that angry scenes were witnessed outside the courtroom in Karachi after judges extended bail for another few weeks.
Mr Musharraf faces a string of charges dating from his final months in office.
Some 240,000 children have missed U.N.-backedvaccinations against polio because of security concerns in Pakistan’s tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, a top official with the World Health Organization said Friday.
Dr. Nima Saeed Abid, the acting WHO chief in Pakistan, said health workers have not been able to immunize children in the North and South Waziristan regions — Taliban strongholds — since July 2012.
Pakistan is one of the few remaining countries, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria, where polio is rampant. As many as 58 cases were reported in Pakistan in 2012, down from 198 in 2011.
She said polio transmission is now concentrated in core endemic areas — central Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the Federally Administered Tribal Regions or FATA, parts of Karachi, Quetta and nearby Killa Abdullah and Pishin districts in south western Baluchistan province.
Abid said that 15 health workers have been killed in the anti-polio campaign in Pakistan since July 2012. Pakistani militant groups oppose the vaccinations and accuse the workers of spying for Washington.
The life story of a 15-year Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban will be published later this year, in a deal reported to be worth around £2m.
“I am Malala” will be published in the autumn and will tell the story of Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by Taliban gunmen after she became an advocate for woman’s education in the Swat Valley. She now attends a school in Birmingham.
Yousafzai said: “I hope this book will reach people around the world, so they realise how difficult it is for some children to get access to education.
“I want to tell my story, but it will also be the story of 61m children who can’t get education. I want it to be part of the campaign to give every boy and girl the right to go to school. It is their basic right.”
The book, which will be published by Weidenfeld & Nicholson in the UK and Commonwealth and by Little, Brown in the rest of the world, is the latest stage of Yousafzai’s public life which almost ended in tragedy.
Yousafzai began writing a blog on the BBC Urdu service under a pseudonym about life in the Swat Valley in 2009. The Taliban were expanding their influence and at times banned girls from going to school and the Pakistani army fought to re-establish control.
Her real identity became known and she frequently appeared in Pakistani and international media advocating for the right of girls to go to school. In October 2011, Archbishop Desmond Tutu nominated her for the International Children’s Peace Prize and in December 2011 she was awarded Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize.
In October last year, gunmen boarded a school bus and asked: “Which one of you is Malala? Speak up, otherwise I will shoot you all”. When she was identified, a gunman shot her in the head and the bullet passed through her head, neck and embedded itself in her shoulder.
Yousafzai was flown to England where she was treated at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Brimingham. Last month she had an operation to rebuild her skull and restore her hearing. Earlier this month Yousafzai went back to school.
In the book, Yousafzai writes: “I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday. It was Tuesday, October 9, 2012, not the best of days as it was the middle of school exams, though as a bookish girl I don’t mind them as much as my friends do.
“We’d finished for the day and I was squashed between my friends and teachers on the benches of the open-back truck we use as a school bus. There were no windows, just thick plastic sheeting that flapped at the sides and was too yellowed and dusty to see out of, and a postage stamp.”
Since the shooting, Yousafzai has been awarded several peace prizes and is the youngest person to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Ban Ki-Moon, the secretary general of the United Nations, announced that the UN will celebrate Malala Day on 10 November.
A spokeswoman for Weidenfeld and Nicolson could not confirm reports about the value of the publishing deal.
Former military dictator Pervez Musharraf was placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) by the Federal Investigation Agency on Saturday. The decision came a day after the Sindh High Court restrained him from leaving the country without permission.
Gen. Musharraf faces arrest in three high profile cases: The assassinations of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and former Chief Minister of Balochistan Akbar Bugti, and the illegal confinement of scores of superior judges including the Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in 2007.
The former army chief’s daughter Ayla Raza applied for bail in all three cases just before his scheduled arrival in the country from self-exile on March 24. Bail was granted on March 22 and Gen. Musharraf landed in Karachi as planned.
He now plans to contest the upcoming National Assembly elections from three places: Islamabad, Karachi and Chitral.
by Simon Rogers
Drones have become a routine part of military operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Using data from the Bureau for Investigative Journalism (which we used to create this map), California-based designers Pitch Interactive have visualised every known attack by the US and Coalition military since 2004. Says Pitch’s Wesley Grubbs: “Our aim is to try can get people to pause for a moment and consider the issue of drone strikes seriously”
by Sheree Sardar
Pakistan’s Taliban have threatened to dispatch suicide bombers and snipers to kill former President Pervez Musharraf when he returns home from exile on Sunday to contest elections.
In a Taliban video obtained by Reuters, Adnan Rasheed, who took part in a previous attempt to assassinate Musharraf, warned: “The mujahideen of Islam have prepared a special squad to send Musharraf to hell. There are suicide bombers, snipers, a special assault unit and a close combat team.”
Musharraf angered the Taliban and other groups by joining the U.S. war on terror following the September 11 attacks and by later launching a major crackdown on militancy in Pakistan.
He is due to return home on Sunday after nearly four years of self-imposed exile in Dubai and London, in time to take part in parliamentary elections on May 11.
Musharraf seized power in a 1999 coup and resigned in 2008 when his allies lost a vote and a new government threatened him with impeachment. He left the country a year later.
The former army general faces the possibility of arrest on charges that he failed to provide adequate security for former prime minister Benazir Bhutto before her assassination in 2007, and in relation to other cases.
But his most immediate concern may be the Taliban, who are seeking revenge for his crackdown on militants fighting to topple the U.S.-backed government and impose their austere version of Islam.