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Last updated: 31 August, 2007 - Published 11:02 GMT
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Pakistan at the crossroads
Nawaz Sharif.
Nawaz Sharif says he will return on September 10th.
The exiled former prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, has announced that he will return home on September 10th to launch what he called a decisive battle against President Pervez Musharraf.

Speaking in London, Mr Sharif said General Musharraf was on his way out and nobody should try to rescue him or his sinking ship.

It's certainly not going to be all plain sailing for Mr Sharif. He was removed in a coup by the General in 1999, and could be arrested on his return on treason charges.

But he said had to go back, whatever the consequences :

 The country today is in the hands of a military dictator who has ruined all the institutions, who has reduced the parliament to a rubber stamp.
Nawaz Sharif.

The next phase of the long-running Benazir Bhutto/Nawaz Sharif power-struggle in Pakistan seems to be imminent.

However, there's another important figure involved -- President Pervez Musharraf -- making it a triangular political affair.

Professor Hussain Haqqani, at Boston University, has worked as an advisor to both Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. the world Today asked him if the possible return of both leaders represented a gathering of rival clans ahead of the upcoming elections?

 We are in very interesting times because Pakistan seems to be at a turning point. And we don't know what course it will take.
Kailash Budhwar.

Kailash Budhwar is a veteran commentator on the politics of the sub-continent. The World Today asked him whether it wasn't extraordinary that Pakistani voters are still restricted to a choice of two such well-worn candidates?

First broadcast 31st August.

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