Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf ended more than four years in self-exile today with a flight to his homeland, seeking a possible political comeback in defiance of judicial probes and death threats from Taliban militants. Security forces whisked Musharraf away in a convoy of about a dozen vehicles shortly after he touched down in the southern port city of Karachi and did not allow him to greet hundreds of supporters waiting at the airport, ready to shower him with rose petals. The move angered other supporters traveling with the former president.
It's unclear if the security forces had detained Musharraf, who faces legal charges, or acted out of concern for his safety. The journey from exile in Dubai is intended as the first step in his goal of rebuilding his image after years on the political margins. Since the former general was forced from power, Pakistan's civilian leadership has struggled with domestic and foreign policy issues. Musharraf represents a polarizing force that could further complicate Pakistan's attempt to hold parliamentary elections in May and stage its first transition from one civilian government to another. What's more, he is viewed as an enemy by many Islamic militants: Yesterday, the Pakistani Taliban vowed to mobilize death squads to send Musharraf "to hell" if he returns.