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Zardari’s Sudden Dubai Dash Sparks Speculation of his Resignation

Posted by yourpakistan on December 7, 2011


The Nation PK

President Asif Ali Zardari, who flew to Dubai suddenly on Tuesday, complaining of heart pains, had been feeling increased pressure over the “Memogate” scandal and he may resign, according to a dispatch posted on Foreign Policy magazine’s web site.

“The noose was getting tighter — it was only a matter of time,” The Cable, Foreign Policy’s blog, quoted a former US government official as saying. The official expressed the growing expectation inside the U.S. government that Zardari may be on the way out, the dispatch said.

The former US official told The Cable that when President Barack Obama spoke with Zardari over the weekend regarding NATO’s killing of the 24 Pakistani soldiers, Zardari was “incoherent.” He said that parts of the U.S. government were informed that Zardari had a “minor heart attack” on Monday night and flew to Dubai via air ambulance on Tuesday. He may have angioplasty on Wednesday and may also resign on account of “ill health.” the dispatch said.

“This is the ‘in-house change option’ that has been talked about,” Shuja Nawaz, director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council, told The Cable. Nawaz said that this plan would see Zardari step aside and be replaced by his own party, preserving the veneer of civilian rule but ultimately acceding to the military’s wishes to get rid of Zardari, according to The Cable. “Unfortunately, it means that the military may have had to use its muscle to effect change yet again,” Nawaz was quoted as saying. “Now if they stay at arm’s length and let the party take care of its business, then things may improve. If not, then this is a silent coup with [Pakistani prime minister Yousaf Raza] Gilani as the front man.”

Last week, Zardari announced plans to address a joint session of parliament amid allegations that his former ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani, sought Washington’s help in heading off a feared military coup following the May killing of Osama bin Laden by American Navy Seals near Islamabad. Haqqani was forced to resign by Prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and the Supreme Court last week barred the former envoy from leaving the country as it investigates the claims against him. The court asked Zardari and the military leadership to submit replies on the issue.

A Pakistani-American businessman, Mansoor Ijaz, has alleged he helped Haqqani deliver a message from Zardari to the then- chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen. Haqqani denies the allegations. Pakistan’s military was embarrassed by the raid that killed bin Laden, which was carried out without its knowledge.

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