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Speculation rife over Zardari absence

world Updated: Dec 09, 2011 00:30 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times
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While President Zardari continued to spend time in the ICU of American Hospital in Dubai, various theories were being floated in Pakistan on why he left the country in such a rush.

On the day that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dismissed speculation that the President was on his way out, analysts in Pakistan said that one of the reasons why he left the country was because he wanted to avoid a confrontation with the Supreme Court which is due to resume hearing a case against him in a couple of days. "It is clear that this is why he went to Dubai," said Mushahidullah, a member of the opposition PML-N party. Mushahidullah said that it was also military pressure that forced him to leave.

President's spokesman Farhatullah Babar said that the rumours were not only untrue but were being spread to create confusion. "The timing of the visit, which has been scheduled, came when the Foreign Policy magazine came out with its speculative story. This combination was enough to get the rumour mill spinning out of control," commented party information secretary Fozia Wahab.

On Thursday, the daily Business Recorder reported that Zardari's ill health "led to wild speculations." The Karachi Stock Exchange lost 88 points on news of political instability in the country. The overbearing fear in the markets was that with the possible departure of Zardari, relations with the US may deteriorate.

The conservative daily Dawn commented that the suspense following the departure of Zardari "was of the highest order and worthy of a Hollywood thriller." The paper also criticised the government and the ruling party's information apparatus for being unable to dissimenate accurate information which in turn added to the confusion.

On Thursday, prayers were held in different parts of the country well-being of President Zardari. His close friend and advisor, Dr Asim Hussain, who is with him in Dubai confirmed that the president was in a stable condition and test results that had come were positive.