Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Is Pakistan's president ill?

The Associated Press reports that Pakistan's president recently traveled to Dubai for medical tests.
Mr. [Asif Ali] Zardari travelled to Dubai on Tuesday for routine tests “related to his pre-existing heart condition” after his children insisted he do so, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s office said in a statement.
The statement said Mr. Zardari was “stable” and would “remain under observation and return to resume his normal functions as advised by the doctors.”
Mr. Zardari travelled to London in September to undergo an angiography and was reportedly given a clean bill of health.
Close associates of the president said he is currently “unwell,” but did not provide specifics. His condition did not appear to be life-threatening, they said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
The Guardian suggests that Mr. Zardari had a minor heart attack
A government adviser said Zardari had suffered a "minor heart attack", but this was at odds with the official spokesman for the president, who said the president had gone for routine tests for a pre-existing heart condition.
Rumours of a coup or a resignation forced by the military consumed the media and the internet, fuelled by a report in Foreign Policy magazine that said Zardari was "incoherent" on Monday night during a telephone conversation with Barack Obama.
Zardari's son and political heir-apparent, Bilawal, met prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in Islamabad, adding to media hysteria about imminent change. Bilawal is chairman of the ruling Pakistan Peoples party.
Additional political instability in Pakistan comes at a time when the U.S. and Pakistan's relationship is frosty. If Mr. Zardari is forced to step down, the need for the Obama administration to re-emphasize its diplomatic efforts will need to increase. 

No comments: