On the mend: Zardari returns home from hospital

Reaches Dubai residence to begin his period of convalescence.


Irfan Ghauri December 14, 2011

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari has left hospital, though his doctors would have wanted a somewhat less stressful environment as he begins his convalescence.

The pressure is certainly mounting. As the deadline approaches for the president to send his reply on the memogate issue to the Supreme Court, Zardari and the Pakistan Peoples Party are divided on which course of action to take.

The party’s legal wizards are wary of sending a reply, believing it will serve as an undesirable precedent in future cases, weakening the party’s stance — which so far has been uncompromising — on the immunity granted to the president in the constitution. Other voices in the PPP say that a reply should be given as soon as possible.

“It will be in accordance with the constitution and law and within the time frame given by the Supreme Court,” said the president’s spokesman Far­hatullah Babar. “So please wait for the time, which is not far,” he added, with the clock ticking towards the court resuming the case on December 19.

After taking up former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s petition on an alleged secret memo asking the then US military chief to help rein in the Pakistani military, the court had asked all respondents, including the president, chief of army staff and director-general ISI, to file their replies within two weeks.

Sources in the PPP said a group among Zardari’s close associates is against a confrontational stance, and would prefer compliance and accommodation from the president. Another group, led by the former law minister Babar Awan, is of the view that if the government submits the reply it would leave the president exposed, as it would essentially mean conceding the current immunity he enjoys.

“There are two different opinions in the party,” confirmed a key figure in the PPP when asked about the party’s likely approach. “But the majority favours some out-of-court settlement.”

PPP legal brains, it seems, are working overtime. Some are of the opinion that, if necessary, the party should ask the court to explain its stance - clearly and unambiguously - on the relevant article of the constitution (248) that deals with the immunity of Pakistan’s head of the state.

There was some relief for the besieged PPP on Wednesday, though, with the decision of the military to reply to the court through the Attorney General.

The party’s high command perceives the move to reply through the AG as a positive sign. “The situation is easing out,” said a PPP MNA, referring to government-army tensions.

On a private TV channel late on Wednesday, AG Maulvi Anwar ul Haq confirmed he had received the replies of the chief of army staff and the director general of the ISI. Earlier, when contacted by The Express Tribune, the AG had said that once he received the replies from the armed forces he would “forward” them to the court. Meanwhile, as the PPP strategises over the president’s legal well-being, across the Arabian Sea his physical well-being appears to be improving steadily. Zardari has been shifted to his residence in Dubai from the American Hospital, where he was admitted on December 6. The PPP has also released a medical certificate from his doctor.

The document, issued by Dr Khaldoun Taha, states that Zardari was admitted “with the chief complaint of left-arm numbness and twitching, with a transient episode of loss of consciousness that lasted for few seconds”. It added that, upon arrival to the hospital’s emergency room, Zardari was fully awake, conscious and stable. “Given his history of heart disease, cardiac and neurology investigations were carried out, which included an MRI of the brain, lumbar puncture, 2-D echocardiogram, carotid doppler and complete blood tests”.

All investigations were within normal range, the certificate claimed, and Zardari has now been advised to rest at home and continue taking his heart medicine.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 15th, 2011.

COMMENTS (46)

ak sheikh | 9 years ago | Reply Please bring 1billion dollars along with you of the looted wealth of the Pakistani nation to spend restore gas,electricity,move the stranded railways,revive the Pakistan steel and many such institutions of the country which have ruined due to bad governance
Raj | 9 years ago | Reply

Thanks Doctors of Dubai...both Medicine and Democracy are best for revenge...

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