A leading opponent of President Zia ul-Haq was arrested at Karachi Airport on Saturday when he returned after nine years in exile, police said.
Ghulam Mustafa Khar, a former governor of Pakistan’s Punjab province, was to be taken to Lahore, where many cases are pending against him, police said.
Khar, once a right-hand man of Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, went into exile in Europe in 1977 after Zia overthrew Bhutto, who was later executed.
A military court sentenced him in his absence to 14 years’ imprisonment for his part in an attempted coup against Zia.
“I have returned with my head bowed before the nation,” Khar said. “I beg to the nation to forgive me. I have not come to fight. I have come to work for my nation.”
Khar accused Bhutto’s daughter, Benazir, now Zia’s chief opponent, of working against the interests of Pakistan and said it would be the last nail in the coffin for democracy in the country if her Pakistan Peoples’ Party achieves power.