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President Asif Ali Zardari Returns Home

Posted by on Monday, December 19, 2011, 10:10
This news item was posted in Pakistani News category and has 0 Comments so far .

Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari returned home on Monday following medical treatment in Dubai, an official said, nearly a fortnight after leaving the country in the midst of a major scandal.Asif Ali Zardari

A special flight carrying Zardari, his daughter and personal staff landed at an air force base in the port city of Karachi, the home minister of Sindh province, Manzoor Wasan, told AFP.

The 56-year-old Zardari flew to the United Arab Emirates on December 6 after falling ill as a row raged over alleged attempts by a close aide to seek US help to limit the power of Pakistan’s military.

Zardari’s return came hours before the Supreme Court is due to hear a petition by opposition leader Nawaz Sharif demanding to know who was responsible for writing a secret memo that sought US help to prevent a supposed coup.

The scandal relates to a memo seeking US intervention to prevent a feared military coup, in exchange for overhauling Pakistan’s security leadership after US troops killed Osama bin Laden near the Pakistani capital on May 2.

The existence of the document came to light when American-Pakistani businessman Mansoor Ijaz wrote in the Financial Times that Zardari feared the military might overthrow his government.

Ijaz accused Husain Haqqani, the president’s close aide and ambassador to Washington, of crafting the memo with Zardari’s support.

Haqqani denies any involvement but he has already been restricted from leaving Pakistan and was forced to resign as ambassador last month.

Pakistan is also battling perhaps its worst crisis in US relations after NATO air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on November 26.

After landing in the early hours of Monday morning amid very tight security, Zardari returned to his residence, Bilawal House, by road.

“The has been no meeting scheduled at the moment and the president will take rest at his residence,” Wasan said.

Zardari was discharged from the Dubai hospital on Wednesday night. His Doctor Khaldoun Taha issued a statement saying he was admitted with “left arm numbness and twitching” after losing consciousness for a few seconds.

Zardari has a long-standing heart condition, but the doctor said that the results of cardiac and neurological tests — including a brain scan — were all “within normal range”.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is responsible for the day-to-day running of the fragile coalition government, which is understood to have tense relations with the military, which effectively controls foreign policy.

Gilani on Sunday denied a military intervention was imminent against his government, saying: “There is no room for a martial law in Pakistan.”

Zardari is facing controversy over the extent to which he was involved in any attempts to rein in the military after relations with the US nosedived following the secret American raid that killed Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on May 2.

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