Former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif was deported to Saudi Arabia on Monday, hours after he had landed in Pakistan from seven years in exile hoping to campaign against the country's US-allied military ruler, officials said.
About four hours after he arrived on a flight from London, Sharif was taken into custody and charged with corruption, but was then quickly spirited to another plane and flown out of Pakistan toward Jeddah, a close aide to President Gen. Pervez Musharraf's said.
An intelligence official confirmed the information. There was no immediate formal announcement from the government.
Sharif's deportation apparently sidelines a powerful political enemy of the general, but it is likely to deepen Musharraf's growing unpopularity and reinforce public perceptions that he is an authoritarian ruler ahead of presidential and legislative elections.