Karachi: Former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto wept and prayed as she touched the tarmac in Karachi, ending an eight year exile on Thursday afternoon.
Speaking to reporters after landing, an emotional Bhutto said: "I am thankful to God, I am very happy that I'm back in my country and I was dreaming of this day."
After leaving the airport Bhutto eventually boarded an open topped bus to address with the thousands of supporters who had turned out to greet her.
She then began leading a rally to the tomb of tomb of Pakistan's founding father Mohammed Ali Jinnah, but the journey is expected to take hours with the roads all blocked by her supporters.
Bhutto climbed down the stairs of Emirates flight EK606 from Dubai at around 2pm Pakistan time, waving to cheering supporters as she went.
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Hundreds of people had managed to make their way onto the tarmac at the airport to greet her on her return.
Security even had to stop dozens of Karachi airport staff as they chanted pro-Bhutto slogans.
After praying on the tarmac, the former Prime Minister was taken away in a coach escorted by a fully armed ASS vehicle, with a helicopter hovering overhead for added security.
On the flight from Dubai to Karachi, Bhutto was relaxed and in control, moving freely around aisles and talking to people despite a football match like atmosphere on board.
She also reiterated her mantra that she is here for the poor people and that she is “coming and bringing employment and empowerment.''
Some estimates claim that up to one million people have turned out in the streets of Karachi to herald her homecoming.
Gulf News reporter Ashfaq Ahmed travelled to Karachi with Benazir Bhutto.