Pakistan’s former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has been arrested and deported, just hours after flying home from exile. Pakistan government sources said he was put on a plane for Saudi Arabia some four hours after arriving back in Islamabad. It was 90 minutes after landing before Sharif agreed to leave his plane; he was then taken into custody, before being expelled. Saudi Arabia says it will accept him.
Sharif was driven from power by current President Pervez Musharraf in a military coup in 1999. He was exiled to London a year later, avoiding corruption and hijacking charges. His return was seen as a direct challenge to the president. Hundreds of his supporters clashed with police, who had thrown a tight security cordon around the airport. Pakistan’s supreme court had earlier ruled that Sharif had the right to return and that the government should not try to stop him.