Pakistan sends Sharif back to Saudi Arabia

Pakistan sent former premier Nawaz Sharif back into exile in Saudi Arabia, a minister and a senior government official told AFP.

Pakistan sends Sharif back to Saudi Arabia
Pakistan sent former premier Nawaz Sharif back into exile in Saudi Arabia, a minister and a senior government official told AFP.

Sharif flew back to Pakistan from seven years in exile earlier Monday, pledging to topple military ruler President Pervez Musharraf, the man who ousted him in 1999.

"He is going back to Saudi Arabia. All arrangements have been made to deport him," the minister said.

Earlier Sharif said he was coming home to provide "a final push to the crumbling dictatorship" of Musharraf, the army chief and key US ally who has watched his grip on power weaken after months of mass street protests.

He showed his defiance as soon as his flight from London touched down by refusing to hand over his passport to officials for nearly two hours, prompting policemen to board the plane until he finally agreed to come out.

The 57-year-old was then taken into "protective custody" after going through immigration, officials said, although it was unclear whether he would be taken to a detention centre or deported to Saudi Arabia, his home-in-exile.

Baton-wielding police clashed with around 100 of Sharif's supporters and arrested key members of his party as he returned, while security forces threw up a five-kilometre (three-mile) security cordon around Islamabad airport.

AFP
Last Mod: 10 Eylül 2007, 17:43
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