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Sharif can be arrested: Attorney General

Deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif could be arrested in an earlier case of hijacking once he is back in Pakistan.

world Updated: Jul 06, 2011 11:57 IST

Deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif, allowed on Thursday by the Supreme Court to return home after six years in exile, could be arrested in an earlier case of hijacking once he is back in Pakistan, Geo TV on Friday quoted Attorney General Malik Muhammad Qayyum as saying.

In an interview to the news channel Qayyum said that the former prime minister was sentenced to life imprisonment in a hijacking case but the sentence was revoked after he accepted exile for 10 years.

If he decides to come back the government can also reconsider its decision of concessions given to him, he told the news channel. "If one party dishonours the agreement, then the other one is also not bound to honour it," Qayyum said.

The attorney general said the final decision on whether to restore the life sentence on Sharif could only be taken by President Pervez Musharraf and added that there was nothing in the supreme court ruling to suggest that the former prime minister could not be arrested on criminal charges.

"The President has the authority of remitting the sentences and with the advice of the prime minister, he could restore the pardoned sentences," Qayyum said. The president has been briefed about all the legal aspects in this regard, he added.

Giving its verdict on a petition by Sharif asking to be allowed to return home from exile in Saudi Arabia and London, the Supreme Court said the former premier has "an inalienable right to enter and remain in the country as a citizen of Pakistan".

Sharif, who heads Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, had served twice as prime minister in the 1990s and was toppled in a military coup by Mushrraf in 1999.

He was subsequently sentenced in 2000 for treason, tax evasion and hijacking. The last charge emanated from his order to divert a plane carrying Musharraf back home from a foreign tour just before the general took over power in a coup in October 1999.