« | »

Pakistan Immediately Re-Deports Ex-PM Sharif

From an outraged AFP:

Former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif is arrested upon his arrival at Islamabad’s airport, September 10, 2007.

Pakistan sends former premier Sharif back into exile

by Rana Jawad

ISLAMABAD (AFP) – Pakistan deported former premier Nawaz Sharif to Saudi Arabia Monday, hours after he returned from exile hoping to ignite a popular campaign to oust military ruler President Pervez Musharraf.

In a dramatic showdown at Islamabad airport, the 57-year-old Sharif refused to hand over his passport as he came home from seven years abroad, sparking an immediate confrontation and prompting police to board his plane.

The two-time premier, ousted by close US ally Musharraf in a bloodless 1999 coup, was then arrested on corruption charges and put on a plane to the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah four hours after he touched down.

The combative Sharif had pledged his return would provide “a final push to the crumbling dictatorship” of Musharraf, who is facing the worst crisis since he took power amid a wave of political turmoil and Islamist violence.

“Nawaz Sharif is now out of Pakistan. He is going back to Saudi Arabia,” Religious Affairs Minister Ijaz-ul Haq told AFP.

“The Saudis have openly demanded his return to Saudi Arabia. He has not only embarrassed Pakistan but also the leadership of Saudi Arabia by violating the agreement,” he said.

Saudi officials later confirmed Sharif had arrived in Jeddah.

Sharif had agreed to remain in Saudi Arabia until 2010 as part of a deal that saw him released from prison, where he was locked up on corruption charges soon after Musharraf’s coup.

The deportation defied Pakistan’s increasingly independent Supreme Court, which has been sparring with the president and last month ordered the government not to hinder Sharif’s homecoming.

The European Union urged the Pakistani government to respect the ruling, adding that Sharif should have the chance to defend himself in a Pakistani court

“After negotiations he accepted an offer to go back and returned in a special plane to Jeddah,” a senior government official told AFP.

“He came to the VIP lounge and he was shown the arrest warrants. He was also shown the agreement that he has made with the Saudi government to remain out of the country for 10 years,” the official said.

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.

Another five Sharif supporters were injured in an exchange of fire with police in northwest Pakistan, police said…

After being ousted in 1999, Sharif was sentenced to life in prison for tax evasion and treason but was released in December 2000 on condition that he and his family live in exile in Saudi Arabia for 10 years

This is a very significant turn of events.

The Pakistani terrorists, the EU and our watchdog media were hoping that Mr. Sharif’s return would lead a Khomeini-like revolution against their enemy Mr. Musharraf.

Hopefully that has been averted. But this will still have an impact upon the upcoming elections.

But of course this development has triggered the usual reasoned discourse from the local citizenry and constabulary:





Ah, sweet reason — at its most inspiring.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, September 10th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

5 Responses to “Pakistan Immediately Re-Deports Ex-PM Sharif”

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.

« Front Page | To Top
« | »