Shahbaz: Back in exile

‘Massive over-reaction’: The authorities put him on a plane [to Saudi Arabia] just two hours after he flew into Lahore on a flight from London via Abu Dhabi. Mr Sharif was sent into exile 14 months after his brother, Nawaz Sharif, was deposed as prime minister in 1999.

Correspondents say Shahbaz Sharif’s latest forced return to exile was a huge over-reaction by the authorities.

Almost as soon as he arrived at Lahore airport, the former chief minister was dragged away by commandos.

The BBC’s Zaffar Abbas, who was travelling with Mr Sharif, was also detained with a BBC cameraman.

He says the authorities massively over-reacted to Mr Sharif’s arrival – especially when he does not pose a major political threat to the Pakistani government

Our correspondent says that the incident shows that democracy in Pakistan still has not found its feet, free speech is restricted and the government is not prepared to allow the opposition to regroup. [BBC News]

And the Pakistani government declared that Shabaz Sharif’s arrival in Lahore was only a stop over en route to Saudi Arabia.