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Pakistani Opposition Leader Sharif Deported Upon Return

Nawaz Sharif, the former Pakistani prime minister hoping to lead opposition to the current government, was arrested upon his return to Pakistan on Monday and sent to Saudi Arabia. A journalist discusses the Pakistan power struggle.

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    Just moments after touching down in Islamabad at 8:45 this morning, the plane of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was surrounded by Pakistani police. Returning from a seven-year exile, Sharif had traveled from London to Pakistan to challenge President Pervez Musharraf's military rule in upcoming elections.

    In anticipation of Sharif's arrival, Pakistani authorities arrested his supporters and set up road blocks on the way to the airport.

    Sharif served twice as Pakistan's premier. In 1999, he was ousted in a military coup led by Musharraf. A year later, he was exiled to Saudi Arabia. But in August, Pakistan's Supreme Court ruled Sharif could return home, and the former prime minister began staging his political comeback from London.

    He spoke to the NewsHour's Margaret Warner last month.

    NAWAZ SHARIF, Former Prime Minister of Pakistan: Pakistan was never meant for dictatorship or military rules. It was meant for democracy. So we're not taking on any confrontation. If there is any act of confrontation from the other side, we've got to face it, because we want a democratic Pakistan.


    And he anticipated what might happen on his return.


    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.

    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.

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