Musharraf may delay return to Pakistan, blames crisis

LONDON/KARACHI Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:07pm EST

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LONDON/KARACHI (Reuters) - Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf said on Thursday he may delay his planned return home later this month, blaming the country's current instability.

Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 coup and has been living in Dubai for almost three years, said he was awaiting recommendations from members of his All Pakistan Muslim League party back home.

"Once those recommendations come, I'm going to examine them and then make a decision whether I should return or delay my return," Musharraf said during a visit to London.

Musharraf addressed a rally via video in Pakistan's biggest city and commercial hub, Karachi, last week to announce his plan to return between January 27 and January 30 and take part in parliamentary elections due by 2013.

"There is a serious political and administrative crisis brewing up in Pakistan. It has certain implications as far as my return to Pakistan is concerned," Musharraf told a news conference.

Tension continues to mount against Pakistan's unpopular civilian government which faces pressure from the military over a mysterious memo seeking U.S. help to avert an alleged planned coup last year.

Some media reports said Musharraf, who faces the threat of arrest in Pakistan on charges that he failed to provide adequate security to former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto before her assassination in 2007, will seek Saudi help in obtaining guarantees that he will not be detained.

Musharraf resigned and left the country after his allies lost a parliamentary election in 2008 and the new coalition government threatened him with impeachment. His popularity had plummeted after he became embroiled in a row with the judiciary and briefly imposed a state of emergency in 2007.

(Reporting by Adrian Croft in London, Faisal Aziz in Karachi and Amena Bakr in Dubai; Editing by Nick Macfie and David Stamp)

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