Dubai/Islamabad, Dec 9 : Beleaguered Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari may fly to London from Dubai for further treatment for his heart complications, media reports quoting his aides said today, fuelling speculation that he is unlikely to return home in the near future.
“Zardari will continue to be under observation in Dubai for some more days and it may last even more than two weeks,” Gulf News reported, as the media in Islamabad said the Pakistan President is “likely to be flown to London for detailed treatment.”
Pakistan's ‘The News' daily said Zardari, 56, had a “mild” stroke that caused bleeding in the brain and facial paralysis before he was flown to Dubai for treatment. The daily, quoting sources, said the President was stable and out of danger as the stroke and internal bleeding were not “life threatening”.
Reports about Zardari being in stable condition, however, did little to dampen rumours and speculation that he had suddenly left Pakistan under some kind of safe passage deal, fearing a coup by the military which is said to be upset with him over a number of issues, the latest being the secret memo handed to the US seeking its intervention to avert a possible military takeover.
Zardari would require “some treatment, including speech therapy, to resume his normal life”, said The News, which is known for its strident criticism of the President. The paper said Zardari “collapsed in the Presidency” on Tuesday because of the stroke.
The Gulf News reported that Zardari was admitted to the American Hospital in Dubai and had undergone more tests for the third consecutive day.“His condition is stable, he is OK,” presidential spokesman Farhatulla Babar said.
Gulf News said the officials at the Pakistan embassy were unable to say when the President will return home and declined to comment further.“It can take two days or even more than two weeks, it all depends on what doctors advise him,” one of the aides said. “He may leave the hospital and rest in his house under observation of doctors, but we want him to stay here because he needs rest,” he said.
Gulf News quoted a top Pakistani official as saying that Zardari may not return to Pakistan until the end of this month because of expected decisions on ‘memogate' scandal, the National Reconciliation Order (NRO) and the release of Abbottabad Commission report on Osama bin Laden's killing by US forces on May 2.
Meanwhile, Zardari's son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has quietly stepped in to assume a larger role in the affairs of the ruling PPP as his father recovers.A day after he jointly chaired a meeting of the Pakistan People's Party's (PPP's) top leadership with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Bilawal yesterday received a briefing from the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security, Raza Rabbani.
Media reports said that 23-year-old Bilawal had adopted a hands-on role in the functioning of the PPP and would have an office at the presidency.However, there was no official word on the development.