Sharif plans return to Pakistan soon

Aug. 24, 2007 at 6:09 AM

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reportedly plans to end his exile and contest elections, following a court ruling that he can return to Pakistan.

Speaking in London, Sharif -- who was ousted in a bloodless military coup in 1999 by President Pervez Musharraf -- said Thursday's Pakistan Supreme Court ruling is "the beginning of the end" for Musharraf, the BBC reported Friday.

The court -- considering Sharif’s petition to return to Pakistan from Saudi Arabia, where he was sent in exile after his ouster -- ruled it is his fundamental right to return and remain a Pakistani citizen.

During his exile, Sharif had been sentenced to life in prison on various charges. The BBC report said he could still face the charges upon his return.

Saying he was not afraid of being charged, Sharif told the BBC: "I'm not scared. If Musharraf wants to fabricate cases against me, let him do that. I'll face them."

Sharif remains the leader of his faction of the Pakistan Muslim League party. The BBC report said Musharraf may seek a deal with the party of Benazir Bhutto, another former prime minister living in exile, in his re-election bid.

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