Source AP ©

Former PM Bhutto returns to Pakistan after 8-year exile

Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan on Thursday, ending eight years of exile and launching what she hopes will be a remarkable political comeback.

A commercial flight carrying Bhutto from Dubai touched down at about 1:45 p.m. (0845 GMT) in Karachi, where tens of thousands of supporters were gathering to give her a rousing welcome.

Ecstatic loyalists of her Pakistan People's Party on board clapped and cheered wildly as the airliner's wheels hit the runway, drowning out the sound of the engines.

Bhutto, who fled Pakistan in the face of corruption charges in 1999, has chosen to come home during a period of particular uncertainty in Pakistan's turbulent politics.

With parliamentary elections due in January, she hopes to campaign for a record third premiership - perhaps in tandem with the country's U.S.-backed military president.