Source AP ©

Nawaz Sharif taken into custody soon after arrival in Pakistan

Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif was detained Monday soon after his return to Pakistan. Sharif returned to Pakistan after many years of exile to lead a campaign against the U.S.-allied military ruler who ousted him eight years ago, intelligence officials said.

It was not immediately clear on what charges Sharif had been detained. Two intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to media, only confirmed that Sharif was being detained inside the Islamabad airport building.

Pakistan's Geo TV network also reported Sharif's detention, but there was no confirmation from the government.

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif returned to Pakistan from exile on Monday to lead a campaign against the U.S.-allied military ruler who ousted him eight years ago, sparking an immediate standoff with authorities.

Nawaz Sharif taken into custody soon after arrival in Pakistan
Nawaz Sharif taken into custody soon after arrival in Pakistan

As his supporters battled police blocking roads leading to Islamabad airport, black-uniformed commandos entered the Pakistan International Airlines jetliner soon after it landed and surrounded Sharif, an Associated Press reporter on board said.

After 90 minutes of negotiations, Sharif disembarked with several of his supporters and government security personnel and entered the airport building, an airport official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media.

Sharif had initially refused to hand over his passport to immigration officials who were also on the plane, the reporter said.

It was still not clear whether authorities might arrest or deport him, or allow him to enter the country where he has said he will fight a political battle against his archrival President Gen. Pervez Musharraf who toppled his elected government in a 1999 coup and later sent him into exile in Saudi Arabia.

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