Musharraf confirms return to Pakistan on March 24

DUBAI (AFP) - Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf said Friday, March 22, that he would definitely return home on Sunday to contest historic elections in May and that he was prepared to risk any danger to his life.

He made the remarks in an interview with AFP in Dubai just hours after a Pakistani court granted him protective bail in a string of legal cases, paving the way for his return from nearly five years in exile without the risk of immediate arrest.

Mr Musharraf, who seized power in 1999 and left the country after stepping down in 2008, is wanted in Pakistan for conspiracy to murder and illegally arresting judges.

"Two hundred per cent! I am travelling back on Sunday to Pakistan," he told AFP in an interview in Dubai, where he has divided his time with London since stepping down as head of state in August 2008.

“I will go by land, air or sea, whatever... even to the peril of my life this is the oath I took for the country,” said the former army chief of staff.

The outgoing government led by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) always insisted that Mr Musharraf would be arrested should be return to the country and last year he delayed a planned homecoming after being threatened with detention.

A parliamentary committee could later on Friday agree on a candidate to head up an interim government which will rule during the election campaign.

“There will be no arrest or anything,” Mr Musharraf told AFP. “I decided I will go back whatever the judgment (in court) but the judgment is favourable,” he said.