(KARACHI, Pakistan) — After four years in exile, former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf arrived in Karachi on Sunday to mount a political comeback despite persistent death threats from the Taliban.
Musharraf, once the head of the powerful Pakistani military that seized power during a bloodless coup in 1999, only to be sent packing a decade later, will lead his party, the All Pakistan Muslim League, when parliamentary elections take place in May.
Although his bloc can only expect minimal gains, the fact that the 69-year-old Musharraf has defied the Pakistani Taliban to return is remarkable, given the group’s purported creation of a death squad to kill him.
His reign was marked by numerous assassination attempts against him. However, Musharraf managed to come out unscathed and remained a close ally of the U.S. in an effort to keep al Qaeda and the Taliban from taking over Pakistan while a war raged next door in Afghanistan.
Things began to unravel quickly for Musharraf following the December 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto with many pointing the finger at the Pakistani president for allegedly organizing the murder.
While denying any involvement in the plot to kill Bhutto, Musharraf nonetheless left Pakistan in 2009 rather than face arrest. He was able to return Sunday after the government granted him protective bail.
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Holly Yan, Chuck Johnston and David Williams, CNN
Holly Yan, David Williams and Steve Almasy, CNN