KARACHI: Former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari paid a visit to his close friend and PPP Karachi president Dr Asim Hussain at the National Institute of Cardio Vascular Diseases (NICVD) on Sunday.
This is the first time Zardari visited Dr Asim since the latter's arrest on August 27, 2015. Dr Asim, who is facing corruption charges, was shifted to NICVD from Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre a few days ago when he complained of chest pains. He is currently under treatment for a heart ailment at the hospital.
The PPP co-chairperson, who returned on Friday after an 18-month self-imposed exile, presented a bouquet to Dr Asim at the hospital and held a one-on-one meeting with him, which lasted for more than an hour.
During the meeting, Zardari appreciated Dr Asim's struggle and strength for accepting his imprisonment and fighting for himself. At the time of Zardari's visit, even the hospitals' staff members were not allowed to enter the ward.
Sources in the party hinted that Dr Asim's family is struggling to send him abroad for his treatment and claimed that Dr Asim demanded assistance from Zardari in the matter.
PPP's lawyer Farooq H Naik and Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah were also present during the meeting.
A report issued by NICVD states that after being in observation for 24 hours, Dr Asim may need radio frequency ablation in the near future. The procedure is quite complicated and tools needed for it are not available in the country.
The report issued by the hospital's chairperson and a member of the team looking after Dr Asim, states that if his condition worsens, the PPP leader may need a permanent pacemaker.
Visit to mausoleum
Zardari also visited Quaid-i-Azam's Mausoleum and offered prayers. Speaking to the media afterwards, he said that he will talk about his party's four demands tomorrow (Tuesday).
The PPP and its chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari have announced the begining of a movement tomorrow if these four demands are not met. These demands include the formation of a parliamentary committee for national security, passing of the opposition's Panama bill, implementation of a multiparty resolution on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and appointment of a foreign minister.
Commenting on Dr Asim, Zardari said that he was in contact with his lawyers and hoped that the latter will get justice.
Regarding the vision of founder of the nation Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the PPP co-chairperson said, "We will make the vision of Quaid-i-Azam a reality and make Pakistan a prosperous and progressive country".
Earlier, Bilawal along with the CM also visited the mausoleum and offered prayers.
Visit to Abdullah Shah Ghazi's shrine
Zardari also visited Abdullah Shah Ghazi's shrine in Clifton, laid a floral wreath and offered prayers. He also reviewed the development work of the shrine and directed the relevant authorities to finish the work without any delay. He also directed the project's engineer to install escalators along the staircase. "This is very important because people who can't climb the stairs must be facilitated," he remarked.
The project director was advised to construct a huge tomb for the shrine to make it more evident. People will feel comfortable and consoled when they will see the tomb from further away, explained Zardari. He also directed the CM to keep visiting the shrine to ensure the work is completed on time.
Meeting with PML-Q leader
Pakistan Muslim League- Quaid leader Chaudhy Shujaat called on Zadari and discussed with him the current political situation.
CM and Bilawal were also present on the occasion. After the meeting, Shujaat said that issues of Panama leaks, grand opposition alliances and bad governance in the country were also discussed.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 26th, 2016.
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