Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari had a minor heart attack and is undergoing treatment in a Dubai hospital, a source said yesterday, fueling rumors he may resign.
Zardari’s office, however, said, he was in hospital for routine tests. It said a Web news report, which triggered much of the speculation, was untrue.
Financial markets were unaffected by the rumors.
“President Asif Ali Zardari is in a Dubai hospital for medical tests and checkup as planned,” presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said.
“Reports in some sections of the media speculating on the president’s activities and engagements are speculative, imaginary and untrue,” he said.
However, a Pakistani source in Dubai familiar with the president’s condition said that Zardari had suffered a minor heart attack.
“Two days ago, he had chest pain” and decided to go to Dubai, the source said.
Six years ago, Zardari had also had a minor heart attack, the source said.
“Since then, he has been on medication,” the source said.
A Dubai-based member of Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party, Mian Muneer Hans, said the president landed in Dubai at about 7:30pm on Tuesday.
“He walked to his car in the airport and was not on any ambulance,” said Hans, adding that he was accompanied by his doctor and Pakistani Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Asim Hussain.
Zardari was taken straight to the American Hospital in Dubai, Hans said.
“He’s taking rest in the hospital now. He may be there for two to three days,” he added.
American Hospital CEO Thomas Murray, contacted by Reuters, declined to comment on the reports.
Hans, however, said the medical visit was “a routine check for his heart.”
The rumors about his health and possible resignation swirled on Twitter and other social media.
“Some elements blew up this to create unrest in the country,” said Fauzia Wahab, a senior member of Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party. “His visit to Dubai and having a medical check up is perfectly normal.”
Pakistan’s civilian government has been under extreme pressure in recent weeks following the resignation of its ambassador to Washington over an alleged memo to the Pentagon asking for help in forestalling a feared coup attempt in May.
Tension between the government and military have bedeviled the nuclear-armed South Asian country for most of its existence, with the military ruling the country for more than half of its 64-year history after a series of coups.
Relations with the US have been rocked by a year of bust-ups. First there was the jailing of a CIA contractor for shooting dead two Pakistanis in the city of Lahore. Then there was the secret US commando raid inside Pakistan that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, and then came US accusations that Pakistan was involved in attacks on US targets in Afghanistan. It was further rocked by a Nov. 26 NATO strike on two Pakistani border posts that killed 24 soldiers, infuriating the country’s powerful military.
China has possibly committed “genocide” in its treatment of Uighurs and other minority Muslims in its western region of Xinjiang, the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China said in a report on Thursday. The bipartisan commission said that new evidence had last year emerged that “crimes against humanity — and possibly genocide — are occurring” in Xinjiang. It also accused China of harassing Uighurs in the US. China has been widely condemned for setting up complexes in Xinjiang that it describes as “vocational training centers” to stamp out extremism and give people new skills, which others have called concentration camps. The UN says that
A racing pigeon has survived an extraordinary 13,000km Pacific Ocean crossing from the US to find a new home in Australia. Now authorities consider the bird a quarantine risk and plan to kill it. Kevin Celli-Bird yesterday said he discovered that the exhausted bird that arrived in his Melbourne backyard on Dec. 26 last year had disappeared from a race in the US state of Oregon on Oct. 29. Experts suspect the pigeon that Celli-Bird has named Joe — after US president-elect Joe Biden — hitched a ride on a cargo ship to cross the Pacific. Joe’s feat has attracted the attention
The Polish Supreme Court on Friday quashed a lower court’s green light for the extradition of a businessman to China for alleged fraud, a charge he has denied, saying that he is being targeted for supporting Falun Gong. Polish authorities took Chinese-born Swedish citizen Li Zhihui, now 53, into custody in 2019 on an international warrant issued by China for alleged non-payment in a business deal, Krzysztof Kitajgrodzki, his Polish lawyer, told reporters. Following the Supreme Court ruling, the case would return to a lower appellate court for review. Kitajgrodzki told reporters that it was still not a given that his client
DELIVERING HOPE: The Japanese PM pledged to push ahead with plans to stage the Games, despite polls showing about 80% think they will not or should not happen Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga yesterday vowed to get the COVID-19 pandemic under control and hold the already postponed Olympic Games this summer with ample protection. In a speech opening a new session of parliament, Suga said that his government would revise laws to make disease prevention measures enforceable with penalties and compensation. Early in the pandemic, Japan was able to keep its caseload manageable with nonbinding requests for businesses to close or operate with social distancing, and for people to stay at home, but recent weeks have seen several highs in new cases per day, in part blamed on eased attitudes