Musharraf’s presidential election victory confirmed following Pakistan court ruling.
“I am very happy to be back … it is the best moment of my life,” senior party aides quoted Sharif as saying as he arrived on an aeroplane provided by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
“My return is not the result of any deal,” he told reporters at the airport. “My life and death are for Pakistan.
“We will fully participate in national politics. We don’t believe in the politics of vengeance.”
Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder in Lahore said there were noisy scenes outside the airport terminal.
About 1,000 of Sharif’s supporters found a way through tight security around the airport to enter the terminal building, waving the green flag of his party and shouting “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif” and “Go, Musharraf, go!”.
Workers decorated the streets with banners, posters and portraits, while crowds lined the route from the airport to the city. Loudspeakers on cars blared out music and people waved victory signs.
Sharif’s party said about 1,800 of its supporters had been detained in a crackdown on Saturday night in the eastern Punjab province, of which Lahore is the capital.
“Someone needs to tell Genenral Musharraf the definition of democracy & the role of army, judiciary and media in it”
Azee, Boston, USA
“There are no arrests as such,” Memon said. “About 100 people have been confined so that they do not create any issues. We don’t want the same mess as there was in Karachi.”
Sharif indicated on Sunday that his party would demand a restoration of constitutional rule before it took part in the vote, but that any decision on whether to boycott would be taken in conjunction with other groups.
|Thousands of supporters gathered at the
airport ahead of Sharif’s arrival [AFP]
“These [emergency] conditions are not conducive to free and fair elections,” he said. “I think the constitution of Pakistan should be restored, and there should be rule of law.”
“There is already an understanding on one point, the restoration of democracy in this country,” he said.
“We honestly feel that Pakistan needs democracy and a free and fair election is the only way out.”