Zardari will return, says family; no coup, says US

December 8th, 2011 - 7:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Islamabad/Washington, Dec 8 (IANS) The US discounted rumours of a “silent coup” against embattled President Asif Ali Zardari, who abruptly left for Dubai over a heart ailment, and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani Thursday asserted Zardari did not want to leave the country. The president’s family stressed he is expected to return soon.

Zardari flew out of Pakistan to Dubai Tuesday, leading to much confusion and sparking rumours of a coup.

The US, however, said there was no reason to believe the speculation over a possible coup.

Gilani stressed that Zardari did not want to leave Pakistan, but left it unclear as to what prompted the president to fly out.

zardari’s family assured that he is expected to return to Pakistan “once the results of his (medical) check-up are available in two to three days”.

Gilani told the cabinet here that President Zardari did not want to leave the country for treatment and he was sent abroad after consultations, Geo News reported. The media report did not elaborate with whom the consultations took place.

The prime minister said Zardari went to Dubai for medical check-up and he is better now.

In the US, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday that they had “seen the reports. We certainly wish him a speedy recovery”, when asked to comment on media speculation that Zardari was contemplating resignation over “memogate”.

Zardari had planned to address a joint session of Pakistan’s parliament on a controversy over a memo to Washington that claimed he feared a military coup after the May 2 US commando operation that killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden deep inside Pakistan in Abbottabad town.

Zardari has been under tremendous pressure since the memo came to light.

“No concerns and no reason to believe” the speculation, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said when asked if the US was worried that a quiet coup was under way against the embattled president. “Our belief is that it’s completely health-related,” he said about Zardari’s sudden dash to Dubai.

Zardari’s family members attempted to clear the air by saying that the president will soon return home.

The president’s sister Faryal Talpur said Thursday that Zardari is expected to return to Pakistan “once the results of his (medical) check-up are available in two to three days”.

“Zardari is in a stable condition after undergoing tests for a heart condition in Dubai and he is expected to return to Pakistan once the results of his check-up are available in two to three days,” Online news agency quoted Faryal Talpur as saying.

A health bulletin issued by Zardari’s physician Colonel Salman said Wednesday: “Routine evaluation of the president’s condition is being carried out. Investigations carried out so far are essentially within normal range and the president’s condition is stable.”

Asim Hussain, a doctor who has served as Zardari’s personal physician, said: “His condition is stable. He has been kept in the ICU because a lot of visitors were coming to meet him.”

Hussain said he expected Zardari to return to Pakistan by the weekend.

“His activities have been very hectic over the past few days and I think he is stable now. He will be (in the hospital) for two to three more days. Once the results of the tests come in, he will be discharged and he will fly back home,” he said.

Zardari’s youngest daughter took to Twitter after rumours swirled in the country.

Aseefa B. Zardari tweeted: “The President is just undergoing tests, when cleared by doctors he will be released from hospital. Thank you for all the support.”

There was much speculation about the president’s health Wednesday due to contradictory reports. Pakistan Army doctors who carried out a medical check had declared him fit, but a US media report said he had suffered a heart attack and may be on the way out.

A day after the coup rumours, a Pakistani daily editorially warned that “more than three decades of direct military rule should have served as a bitter lesson for our political class and citizens”.

Daily Times Thursday said: “Relying on unconstitutional moves is dangerous. More than three decades of direct military rule should have served as a bitter lesson for our political class and citizens. Unfortunately, it looks like we are hell bent on repeating the same mistakes over and over again.”

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