ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari will remain in a Dubai hospital for a heart condition, the prime minister’s office said on Wednesday.
“The president went to Dubai following symptoms related to his pre-existing heart condition, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s media office said in a statement.
“The president will remain under observation and return to resume his normal functions as advised by the doctors.”
Zardari in “stable” condition
President Zardari’s spokesperson, Farhatullah Babar relayed a health bulletin on the President from his personal physician Col. Salman that “Routine evaluation of the President’s condition is being carried out. Investigations carried out so far are essentially within normal range and the President’s condition is stable.”
Zardari had ‘minor heart attack’: Minister
President Zardari suffered a “minor heart attack” and was in Dubai for a small operation and said that he will return to Islamabad on Thursday as he was in good health, a minister confirmed earlier on Wednesday.
Mustafa Khokhar, minister in charge of human rights, told AFP that despite media reports there was “no question of any resignation” by Zardari, who is under pressure over a scandal that saw his ambassador to the US step down.
“He had a minor heart attack on Tuesday. He flew to Dubai where he had an angioplasty. He’s in good health now. He will come back tomorrow. There’s no question of any resignation,” said Khokhar.
Khokhar’s statement contradicted with President spokesman Farhatullah Babar’s message sent early morning on Wednesday, in which he said that the president was in a Dubai hospital for a routine medical checkup as planned and the media reports speculating on his activities and engagements were ‘speculative, imaginary and untrue’.
Other sources in the Presidency told The Express Tribune that all media reports speculating on the president’s health and resignation after his departure for Dubai were untrue.
Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari meets PM Gilani
Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari met Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Wednesday at the Prime Minister House.
Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said the President went to Dubai at the insistence of his children.
The doctors are yet to determine whether President’s condition was due to an adverse reaction to the medication he was taking or a development related to his pre-existing cardiac condition.
A source in Dubai familiar with the 56-year-old president’s condition told Reuters that he 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.”
A Dubai-based member of Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Mian Muneer Hans, said the president landed in Dubai around 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 petroleum minister Asim Hussain. Zardari was taken straight to the American Hospital in Dubai, said Hans.
“He’s taking rest in the hospital now. He may be there for two to three days,” he added.
The hospital’s chief executive officer Thomas Murray, contacted by Reuters, declined to comment on the reports.
“Some elements blew up this to create unrest in the country,” said Fauzia Wahab, a senior member of the PPP. “His visit to Dubai and having a medical check up is perfectly normal.”
Earlier on Wednesday, a US magazine had reported that President Zardari might resign due to ill-health. The report quoted a former US government official saying that when US President Barack Obama spoke to Zardari regarding the Nato attack, Zardari was ‘incoherent’.
Other media reports had stated that Zardari was rushed to the hospital after suffering a ‘minor heart attack’ and was undergoing angioplasty after reaching Dubai via an air ambulance.
The president’s personal physician Col Salman had also emphasised earlier that it was a ‘routine’ checkup and the medical tests were linked to a previously diagnosed cardiovascular condition.
President Zardari had earlier left for the Emirati state to visit his children and undergo some medical tests. He was accompanied by his physicians and limited personal staff. He is due to address a joint sitting of Parliament immediately after Muharram.
We wish President Zardari a speedy recovery: White House
The US wished President Zardari a speedy recovery on Wednesday.
Talking to reporters White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, “Well, I don’t have anything beyond to say that we have seen the reports, we’ve heard what the — I guess the government spokesman has said. And we certainly hope — wish him a speedy recovery from his medical condition.”
Carney was responding to a question on whether the White House had any additional information on Zardari’s trip to Dubai and if there was more to the story.