Troops today rounded up hundreds of supporters of exiled prime minister Nawaz Sharif as he was about to land back in Pakistan. Tens of thousands of activists were expected to greet Sharif as he returned, but soldiers were to keep them at bay. "Let's see what happens," Sharif said before boarding his plane in Saudi Arabia. A government official said an "understanding" was reached allowing him to return but Sharif said no such agreement existed.
More than 6000 officers were deployed to secure Lahore airport, and other policemen massed to subdue rallies across the country The returning politician has been in touch with fellow former exile Benazir Bhutto, "trying to find common ground," but Sharif said he does not foresee any cooperation with President Pervez Musharraf, who was confirmed for a third term yesterday.