ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- As Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was confirmed for a third term Saturday, the prime minister he overthrew in 1999 announced his plans to return home Sunday.
But hours before Nawaz Sharif was to land in Lahore, police launched a crackdown on his supporters.
Several hundred were arrested at their homes early Sunday.
Tens of thousands of people were expected to greet Sharif when he arrives ahead of parliamentary elections in early January. But the government warned that it would stop his supporters from entering Lahore. Police roadblocks were being set up on streets leading into the city.
Sharif -- who has been in exile in Saudi Arabia for seven years and leads the opposition party, Pakistan Muslim League -- tried to return to Pakistan in September.
But he was quickly deported by the government of Musharraf, who ousted Sharif in a bloodless coup eight years ago.
Saudi authorities have been pushing Pakistan to allow Sharif back in the country, and he is expected to fly home on a Saudi royal family plane, according to one of his deputies and a government source.
The Saudis also have provided him with a bulletproof car in Lahore.
"This time, he will not be sent back," said Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, a Musharraf adviser, according to The Associated Press.
Convicted of tax evasion and treason after Musharraf seized power in 1999, Sharif was released in 2000 in exchange for agreeing to 10 years of exile in Saudi Arabia.
He kept his Pakistani citizenship, but has not been allowed to travel to Pakistan or directly take part in Pakistani politics.
When he arrives, Sharif plans to make a statement at the airport, visit the shrine of a Sufi saint, then go to his home in Lahore. He also plans to visit the grave of his father, who died while Sharif was in exile.
Another former Pakistani prime minister recently came back to Pakistan after years in exile. But Benazir Bhutto's return was marred by violence. While traveling from the Karachi airport, her motorcade was attacked, killing 136 people. She was not hurt.
Sharif and Bhutto have said they will boycott the January elections as long as the state of emergency and suspension of the constitution ordered by Musharraf November 3 stays in place.
On Thursday, Pakistan's Supreme Court -- which Musharraf recently stacked with his allies -- ruled against the last challenge blocking the ratification of last month's presidential election.
On Saturday, the election commission officially notified the federal government that Musharraf won.
The move clears the path for him to take the oath of office for the third time, a spokesman for Musharraf said. E-mail to a friend
CNN's Karl Penhaul and Mohsin Naqvi contributed to this report.
Copyright 2007 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.
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