Within hours of landing back home in Pakistan late last night, exiled former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was deported to Saudi Arabia, as his supporters clashed with police near the airport and hundreds were arrested. Thousands more had been arrested in advance of his return. Police escorted Sharif onto a commercial jet shortly after he touched down in Islamabad from London.
Sharif had vowed to return after seven years in exile to campaign against embattled President Musharraf. "I have a message of hope. I have a message of tranquility, peace and national reconciliation," Sharif had told reporters on the plane, CNN reports. Sharif was ousted in a bloodless coup by the army in 1999. Pakistan's Supreme Court ruled last month that he had a right to return to his country.