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Zardari returns, but Pakistan remains tense

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari arrived in the port city of Karachi late on Sunday night having spent two weeks in Dubai for medical treatment, the Geo News reported.

world Updated: Dec 20, 2011 00:34 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad

After two weeks of speculation, President Asif Ali Zardari finally returned to Karachi on early Monday morning where his close aides said he would be resting for the next week or so. A spokesman of the Bilawal House, the residence of President Zardari in Karachi, said on Monday that the PPP co-chairperson was both "alert and active."

Sindh information minister Shazia Marri told reporters that the president would be resting in Karachi on doctor's advice. The president suffered a mild stroke and was rushed to Dubai on December 6. Prime minister Gilani told journalists that the reason why the president was rushed to Dubai was because there were fears for his safety if he were admitted at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) in Islamabad or any other local hospital.

In separate interviews to journalists prior to his arrival in Pakistan, Zardari had said that he was hale and hearty and that his decision to go to Dubai was on the insistence of his children who are based there. However, the rumour mills worked overtime in Pakistan where it was suggested that Zardari had fled the country to evade arrest or interrogation under the memogate scam.

The return of Zardari, however, was subject to talks with the army leadership which was angered over allegations that Zardari plotted to have the cut to size with the active assent of the Americans. Zardari's departure came soon after there were allegations that he could be linked to the Memogate scandal and that his Ambassador in the US, Husain Haqqani, who was then recalled and dismissed, would speak out against him.