Musharraf to formally launch new party in September, says spokesperson

     In a bid to capitalise on the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) led government's dipping popularity due to its slow response to the catastrophic floods, former Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf is likely to formally launch his party, the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), next month. "The ex-President would launch APML by the end of September in London," The Nation quoted Musharraf's spokesman Major General (retired) Rashid Qureshi, as saying. Qureshi, however, parried questions regarding Musharraf's return to Pakistan, and said that the party's Central Working Committee (CWC) would decide the timing of Musharraf's return. Qureshi said that one of primary aims of the APML would be to unite all the factions of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML). He also revealed that many senior leaders both in the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) and other parties are willing to join the APML. Reports regarding Musharraf's return have been doing rounds in the media for a long time now, but it is believed that he is unlikely to take a flight back to Pakistan amidst demands for his high treason trial, particularly from the main opposition party's (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif. Several cases are pending against Musharraf in courts across Pakistan, and the UN enquiry commission's report also held his regime responsible for the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in December 2007. The Sindh High Court (SHC) has also declared him as a proclaimed offender for not appearing in court despite several notices. The court has ordered to publish advertisements in British and national newspapers directing Musharraf to appear before the court.

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