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Exiled Former Prime Minister Plans to Return to Pakistan

On her way to Pakistan, Margaret Warner spoke with exiled former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who intends to return to his country despite threats that President Pervez Musharraf will arrest him. Follow her reporting all this week with a behind-the-scenes podcast.

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  • GWEN IFILL:

    Finally tonight, the former and possible future prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif. Sharif, whose time in office was clouded by charges of corruption, has been prime minister twice. The second time, he was deposed in a military coup by current Pakistani president, General Pervez Musharraf. Last Thursday, Pakistan's Supreme Court ruled the exiled leader could return home. Sharif immediately pledged to challenge Musharraf's military rule.

    Margaret Warner interviewed Sharif in London on Saturday.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    Prime Minister Sharif, thank you for joining us.

    NAWAZ SHARIF, Former Prime Minister of Pakistan: Thank you.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    After the court ruling last Thursday, you said you were going back to Pakistan soon. How soon?

  • NAWAZ SHARIF:

    The working committee of the party has met today, and their recommendation is that I shall return as early as possible. They say that I should return before the beginning of month of Ramadan.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    And when is that?

  • NAWAZ SHARIF:

    I think it's about maybe two or three weeks away.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    The Supreme Court said that you had an inalienable right as a Pakistani citizen to return to Pakistan, but what does that really mean? Do you have any guarantees that when you arrive you won't be immediately arrested and taken to fulfill your sentence?

  • NAWAZ SHARIF:

    Musharraf certainly would like to arrest me, and he's warning me, and he must have fabricated cases against me, bogus cases, as he has been doing in the past against me. This time around, I'm sure that he'll be thinking on these lines again.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    You said he's warning you. You mean, since the Supreme Court ruling, he has sent warnings that if you come back, you'll be arrested?

  • NAWAZ SHARIF:

    Yes, he's saying that. His people are saying that. His ministers are saying that. I think he wants to scare me; he wants to frighten me that I should not come back to Pakistan and play my role in the restoration of rule of law in Pakistan and should not play my role in the restoration of the constitution.