FACTBOX-Five facts on Nawaz Sharif

Thu Aug 30, 2007 5:14pm BST

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(Reuters) - Exiled former Pakistani leader Nawaz Sharif said on Thursday he would return home on September 10 to challenge military leader President Pervez Musharraf in elections.

Here are five facts on Sharif:

* Born into a Kashmiri family of industrialists in Lahore on December 25, 1949, Sharif studied law at Punjab University and worked in the family business before going into politics in the Pakistan Muslim League (PML). Joining the Punjab cabinet as finance minister in 1981, he became its chief minister in 1985.

* Prime minister for two terms in the 1990s, Sharif was overthrown by the army chief he appointed, General Pervez Musharraf, eight years ago. The bloodless ouster was Pakistan's fourth military coup since independence in 1947.

* After the coup Sharif was convicted of graft and banned from politics, and given a life sentence for hijacking. Allowed to go into exile in Saudi Arabia in 2000, amid reports of a deal between his family and Musharraf's military government, he was given a presidential pardon the day his family left.

* On August 23, 2007, Pakistan's top court ruled Sharif, 57, and his brother were free to return. During his exile he had repeatedly vowed to return to Pakistan although Musharraf said Sharif and his brother were exiled for 10 years.

* The first industrialist to rule Pakistan, Sharif tried to reverse socialist policies and open up the economy. In 1991, he was embroiled in controversy after trying to make Islamic sharia law the supreme law of Pakistan. In May 1998 he oversaw the country's first nuclear tests.

Sources: Reuters

(For related story see BRITAIN-SHARIF (UPDATE 2) or)

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