Nawaz Sharif arrives in Lahore from exile

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Islamabad, Nov 25 (UNI) Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrived in Lahore today after seven years of exile.

A special plane carrying the PML-N chief, brother Shahbaz Sharif and other family members landed in his hometown at 0700 hrs IST.

The convoys of PML-N workers were present to accord rousing welcome to their leader. Large welcome banners and pictures of Sharif brothers have been displayed at several places in Lahore.

The central and provincial leaders of PML-N, lawyers and members of civil society received the Sharifs at Lahore Airport.

Security has been tightened especially on the airport ahead of arrival of the PML-N leader.

Provincial home department had allowed only hundred party leaders to receive the Sharifs at the airport, party sources claimed.

Meanwhile, the home department has said that the authorities have decided to give free hand to Mr Sharif but he was not permitted for holding a public meeting and rally.

The former Prime Minister was ousted by President Pervez Musharraf in a bloodless military coup in 1999 and exiled to Saudi Arabia a year later. Mr Sharif had tried to return home in September, but was sent back to Saudi Arabia within hours.

But this time Gen Musharraf allowed him back to lead his party in January 8 general elections.

The dramatic development came after Gen Musharraf's meeting with the Saudi king during his visit to Saudi Arabia.

Although details of the meeting were not made public, sources in the Pakistan government said the President was politely told by the Saudi authorities that after former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's return, it was ''extremely difficult to hold back'' another former Prime Minister.

UNI

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