NEWS: Sharif returns; suicide bombers target ISI

Bitterest rival of Musharraf returns home

Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistani opposition leader and former prime minister, arrived home from exile to a tumultuous welcome at Lahore airport on Sunday evening. Hundreds of supporters whistled and cheered, hoisting him and his brother, Shahbaz Sharif on their shoulders through ranks of wary riot police.

“I have come to save this country,” he said standing on top of a radio cab desk in the arrivals hall. “I have come to fulfill the responsibility that is given me,” he told the crowd. But few could hear him, so loud was the chanting and cheering from supporters. “Long live! Long live! Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif!” they shouted.

The bitterest rival of Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Mr. Sharif, 57, was returning eight years after his government was overthrown by the general, and he was thrown in prison and later sent into exile. [complete article]

Blasts kill 35 near Pakistani capital

A pair of suicide bombers, in apparently synchronized attacks, killed at least 35 people today in early-morning blasts near major military installations, Pakistani officials said.

The powerful blasts in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, next to Islamabad, the capital, targeted a bus carrying employees of Pakistan’s spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, and a checkpoint outside army headquarters.

The attacks came a day after the Supreme Court, now made up of handpicked loyalists of President Pervez Musharraf, declared that his 3-week-old emergency decree is legal. The latest violence could give him a reason to extend the decree, which amounts to de facto martial law. [complete article]

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