Former President Pervez Musharraf has abandoned plans to return to Pakistan from self-exile in Britain after the military leadership "cold-shouldered" his demands for extra security to counter multiple threats to his life from militant outfits like Al-Qaeda and Taliban.
The military also turned down Musharraf's request to use its influence to prevent his arrest on arrival in Pakistan for his alleged involvement in the killing of ex-premier Benazir Bhutto and Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Bugti, a media report said on Sunday.
Musharraf, who resigned as President in 2008 and has been living in self-exile in Britain for the past two years, faces threats from Balochistan and the tribal areas, The Express Tribune quoted unnamed sources as saying.
He is also one of the top targets of the Taliban and Baloch nationalist militants. The former President, who launched a new political party in October last year, has claimed several times that he will return to Pakistan to lead the All Pakistan Muslim League.
Musharraf's aides told the daily that he has been seeking guarantees from the military leadership for more security than that to which he is entitled as a former President. "He is scared... naturally, the level of threat he faces is much higher... That's why he wanted to be dead sure that enemies couldn't get him if he comes back," said a friend of Musharraf who did not want to be named.
"And of course who else other than the military, the army, can provide that sort of security," the friend said. Musharraf's hopes faded when the military hierarchy "cold-shouldered his demands for extra security to spearhead his politics in Pakistan," the report said.
"It looks like they (military generals) are not interested in him and his political designs anymore... it is not their tradition to support a former chief's political gamble... because they are of no use," said another associate of Musharraf.
Al-Qaeda, which operates in Pakistan's tribal areas with associates like the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, poses a threat to Musharraf. He was twice targeted by Al-Qaeda's 313 Brigade and the Amjad Farooqi group of the Punjabi Taliban when he was the President.The military raid on Islamabad's Lal Masjid also turned all 'jihadi' groups against Musharraf. The killing of Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Bugti in 2006 too earned him the ire of militants of Balochistan. "And now he can be an easy prey for them... they might still want to get him whenever possible," said an unnamed friend of Musharraf.