President Asif Ali Zardari will not contest the next presidential election that is slated to be held in September, after completing his five-year term, according to president’s spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar.
Babar also dispelled the impression that President Zardari would resign before completing his term.
“He is a democratically elected president and will hold office until the completion of his constitutional timeframe,” he said while talking to reporters in Parliament House on Monday, adding that President Zardari is the first elected head of state who would complete his constitutional term.
The parliament has already sought the timeframe from the Election Commission of Pakistan to hold presidential elections as the incumbent president’s term ends on September 8, 2013.
Senator Babar, however, said that the decision of fielding a candidate for the top slot would be taken later after consultation with other political parties.
He also said that the president had gone to Dubai to meet his children and would leave for London within a few days, adding that all rumours and speculations of him staying abroad are “baseless and have nothing to do with reality.” He also remarked that President Zardari intended to stay in Pakistan and mobilise the party after retiring from office.
The senator, however, declined to disclose the date of his return due to security reasons.
Meanwhile, the spokesman while commenting on the assassination of the president’s security chief Bilal Sheikh in Karachi last week indicated that the murder seemed to be a message to the president.
“It can be a message to the president and such messages have been given in the past too,” he pointed out.
While commenting on the leakage of the Abbotabad Commission’s report, Senator Babar said that it was the government’s responsibility to officially make it public and present it in the parliament to formally debate on it.
“It is high time for the government to implement the recommendations of the report,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2013.