DEC 15, 2011 ISLAMABAD, – Rumors and speculation is high in the agenda as President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan, who unexpectedly flew to the United Arab Emirates on Dec. 6 for what was officially described as medical treatment, will be discharged from a hospital there on Thursday, according to his aides and physician.
But it remained unclear when Mr. Zardari would return to Pakistan, adding to the speculation that his exit may have reflected pressure on him to leave from his country’s powerful military.
Officials of the governing Pakistan Peoples Party, have vehemently denied that speculation, emphasizing that Mr. Zardari, 56, flew to the United Arab Emirates because of genuine cardiovascular issues.
Mr. Zardari maintains one of his overseas residences in the Emirates Hill neighborhood of Dubai. Some party officials have said that Mr. Zardari would return before Dec. 27, the fourth anniversary of the assassination of his wife, Benazir Bhutto, the two-time former prime minister, in a gun and bomb attack in the city of Rawalpindi, near Islamabad.
Khaldoun Taha, who is Mr. Zardari’s physician, said through a statement — dated Dec. 13 but released Wednesday — -that Mr. Zardari had been admitted on Dec. 6 at the American Hospital, Dubai, with a chief complaint of left arm numbness and twitching with an episode of loss of consciousness that lasted for a few seconds.
There was no information from Dr. Taha’s statement about the location or duration of Mr. Zardari’s convalescence.
An official from the United Arab Emirates said that Emirati authorities had no indication that Mr. Zardari planned to remain indefinitely in Dubai, where he once lived for years in exile. The official, who asked not to be identified because of diplomatic protocol, said the authorities believed he would return to Pakistan sometime in the next few weeks. Mr. Zardari has been facing immense pressure from his political opponents and the military over the origins of a memorandum that suggested he had sought American help to rein in the powerful Pakistani military.
Husain Haqqani, a close aide to Mr. Zardari, was forced to resign as Pakistan’s ambassador in Washington on Nov. 22 after accusations that he had orchestrated the memo, a charge he denies.
On Dec. 19, the Supreme Court will resume its hearing of petitions by opposition politicians, who have sought an inquiry into the memo and have speculated that it was done at the behest of Mr. Zardari, a charge he has denied.
Mr. Zardari was elected president in 2008. His tenure has been hobbled by crises.
By: Matthew Rosenberg – NYTIMES.