Accessibility links

Saudi Arabia Urges Sharif Not to Return to Pakistan

Saudi Arabia says former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should honor an exile agreement, and scrap his plans to return to Pakistan.

Saudi intelligence chief Prince Muqrin bin Abdul-Aziz spoke Saturday in Islamabad, where he met with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Lebanese lawmaker Saad Hariri.

The Saudi royal family and Hariri's father, the late Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, brokered the deal that sent Mr. Sharif to Saudi Arabia in 2000, after he was ousted in a coup led by General Musharraf.

According to that deal, Mr. Sharif was to stay in exile for 10 years, but Pakistan's Supreme Court last month said he had the right to return to the country.

Citing the court decision, Mr. Sharif says he will return to Pakistan Monday to challenge General Musharraf in upcoming elections.

On Friday, a Pakistani court issued an arrest order for Shahbaz Sharif, the younger brother of Nawaz Sharif, who will be returning to Pakistan with his brother.

Shahbaz Sharif is accused of ordering the killing of five suspected Islamic militants in an allegedly faked police encounter in 1998 when he was chief minister of Punjab province (1997-1999).

Nawaz Sharif also faces the possibility of arrest on corruption charges.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.