Islamabad, Dec 16 : Some secretarial staff from the presidency have flown to the United Arab Emirates amid speculation that a presidential camp office was being set up at Pakistan's ailing President Asif Ali Zardari's private residence in Dubai.
This is the second batch of officials from the presidency to go to the UAE since Zardari travelled to Dubai on December 6 to seek treatment for a heart condition.
He is currently recuperating in his residence after being discharged from a Dubai hospital on Wednesday.
There was speculation that a presidential camp office is being set up in the posh area of Jumeirah, where Zardari has his private residence, the Dawn newspaper reported today. Some officials of the presidency had accompanied the President when he left for Dubai and the second batch left yesterday.
“About 15 employees of the presidency left for Dubai on Thursday and they are in addition to those already accompanying the President,” a source told the daily.
The move hinted that Zardari has no plan to return to Pakistan in the coming days, the report said. Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar confirmed that some staffers of the presidency had left for Dubai yesterday but ruled out the possibility of setting up a presidential camp office in Dubai.
“The President's military secretary, ADC, security personnel and personal physician are in Dubai,” he said. Zardari required the presidency's skeleton staff in Dubai to make arrangements for his meetings there, Dawn quoted an unnamed insider as saying.
He also needed his media team in Dubai to issue official statements and press releases, the insider said. Legal and constitutional experts said such a camp office could not be set up outside Pakistan at a time when Senate Chairman Farooq Naik had been given the charge of acting President.
“If any camp office is established in Dubai, it would mean that President Zardari is holding his office in the presence of the acting President, which is constitutionally impossible,” retired judge Tariq Mehmood said.
The President's role had become almost symbolic after the 18th Amendment and all powers rested with the premier, he said.