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The big comeback

Prezident Musharaf's biggest rival-the man he ousted and exiled-Nawaz Sharif made a sucessful comeback from exile today amid cheers of supporters.

THe BBC reported, "Supporters clapped and danced and waved the green flags of Mr Sharif's party. They shouted slogans such as 'Long live Sharif' and 'Go, Musharraf, go'". Sharif said that the police state was not conducive to free elections.

THe New York Times reported that two months ago Sharif had tried to enter the country but Musharaf had deported him from Pakistan within hours of his arival. This time, thousands of police officers protected his motorcade and kept the peace while Sharif gave a speech.

The Times further reported, "Sharif's reappearance could trigger large-scale defections from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League, made up of politicians who have backed General Musharraf's rule. Intelligence agencies assembled the PML from the remnants of Sharif's party."

The BBC noted that the people also seem to like him because, "a surge of supporters at Lahore airport who carried Mr Sharif on their shoulders."