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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 November 2007, 15:49 GMT
In pictures: Sharif back from exile

Nawaz Sharif supporters at Lahore airport

A huge crowd has welcomed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif back to Pakistan after seven years in exile.

Sulman Shahbaz shows a victory sign

Sulman Shahbaz, nephew of Nawaz Sharif and son of the former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif, was among those making the journey to the meet the ex-PM at the airport.

Police and supporters of Mr Sharif

Hundreds of policemen with riot shields and batons were deployed at the airport.

A crowd of supporters clash with police

Some of Mr Sharif's supporters had been detained and security forces had tried to seal off the area.

Supporters waving flags bearing the image of Mr Sharif

But more than a 1,000 of the former prime minister's supporters were reportedly able to make their way into the airport terminal, shouting slogans such as "Long live Sharif".

A Pakistani policeman stands guard at Lahore airport

Mr Sharif told the BBC that his objectives were to rid the country of military rule and to strengthen democracy.

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