31 August, 2007 - Published 11:02 GMT

Pakistan at the crossroads

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 :

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?

Prof Haqqani.

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?

Kailash Budhwar.

First broadcast 31st August.