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Former Pak PM Nawaz Sharif heading to UK

Former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif was to end five years of exile in Saudi Arabia by travelling to Britain on Sunday, a spokesman said on Thursday.

india Updated: Jan 27, 2006 04:49 IST

Former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif was to end five years of exile in Saudi Arabia by travelling to Britain on Sunday, a spokesman said on Thursday.

Sharif was due to arrive at London's main Heathrow airport at 5:40 pm on a Saudi Airlines flight.

A spokesman for the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party said nearly 3,000 people were expected to head to Heathrow in west London to receive him. Britain has a sizeable Pakistani minority population.

Pakistani Information Minister Sheikh Rashid announced in November that Sharif would be issued with a passport so he can travel to London with his sick son.

Rashid said Sharif -- who was prime minister from 1990 to 1993 and again from 1997 until 1999 -- would be free to go anywhere, but that "he cannot come to Pakistan".

Industrialist-turned politician Sharif was ousted by General Pervez Musharraf in a bloodless coup on October 12, 1999. He was sentenced to life in prison on tax evasion and treason charges.

Under a deal brokered by the Saudi royal family, President Musharraf released Sharif in December 2000 on condition he and his family live in exile in Saudi Arabia for 10 years.

First Published: Jan 27, 2006 04:49 IST