Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf, currently living in London on a self-imposed exile, will not visit Pakistan for the launch of his All Pakistan Muslim League party in September as decided earlier, according to a media report on Monday.
Sources close to the former military ruler were quoted by the Daily Times as saying that Musharraf had decided to steer his party from London and that he would not come to Pakistan during this year because of "some formidable challenges and serious risks he would be exposed to here".
The move comes a week after the Sindh high court declared him a proclaimed offender following his non-appearance before it despite several notices.
Sources told the newspaper that a core team of legal and political experts is finalising the manifesto of the newly formed APML and the party will be launched after Eid-ul-Fitr in London, Pakistan, Dubai and the US.
Some of Musharraf's aides had recently announced that he would return to Pakistan later this year to lead the APML.
Over the past few days, Musharraf has been seen in an advertisement aired on Pakistani news channels in which he announced a donation of Rs 1 crore for victims of the unprecedented floods in Pakistan. Musharraf said the amount would be handed over to APML officials so that it could be used in a transparent manner to help flood victims. Asked about the requirement of an APML office in Dubai, the sources said the Middle Eastern city and London were political hubs for exiled or self-exiled Pakistani politicians and other personalities to meet their supporters.
The APML office in Dubai will be a special venue for Musharraf to meet his fans, they said.
A decision was made to set up a party office in the US because Musharraf had some close friends and fans in Dallas and these people want to run a party chapter there and play an active role in Pakistani politics through their financial, moral and political support to the APML, the sources said.
The APML was founded in Karachi earlier this year and the party was registered in all provinces of by Pakistan by Saif Ali Khan and Major General (retired) Rashid Quraishi, two of Musharraf's closest aides. It was named after the historical All India Muslim League, which is credited with winning independence for Pakistan.The party has chapters in Britain, the US, Canada and the UAE. Musharraf, who resigned as president in 2008 to avoid impeachment by the Pakistan People's Party-led government, has been living outside the country since last year. He left Pakistan after a slew of legal and police cases were filed against him.