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Pakistan deports former PM Sharif to Saudi Arabia after attempted return

[JURIST] Pakistan Monday deported former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif [BBC profile] to Saudi Arabia shortly after Sharif's attempted return from exile. Sharif was arrested on corruption and money laundering charges [JURIST report] shortly after landing in the country on a flight from London. He chose detention over continued exile but then was put on an airplane back to Saudi Arabia despite his wishes. Sharif was first sent to Saudi Arabia seven years ago under a deal with then coup leader and now president Pervez Musharraf [BBC profile] to stay out of the country for 10 years. Over the weekend, security officials detained more than 2,000 supporters [JURIST report] of Sharif anticipating his return to Pakistan, where he was expected to challenge Musharraf's re-election bid.

In August, the Supreme Court of Pakistan [official website] ruled that Sharif had an "inalienable right to enter and remain in the country" [JURIST report] as a citizen of Pakistan, notwithstanding his earlier agreement to a 10-year exile with Musharraf's government to avoid charges. Musharraf has seen his popularity decline since he attempted a failed bid to remove Pakistan Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry [official website; JURIST news archive] from office in March for alleged judicial misconduct. Musharraf's critics have alleged that Chaudhry's attempted dismissal was an attempt to preemptively quash legal objections to Musharraf's re-election bid. AP has more.

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