Islamabad: In a golden moment in Pakistan`s chequered 66-year political history, President Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday stepped down and left the presidency after successfully completing his five-year term, paving the way for India-born Mamnoon Hussain to take over.
Zardari is the first elected President to complete his constitutional tenure and to be replaced by an elected individual in Pakistan`s history that has witnessed numerous military coups.
He was given a guard of honour after which he was driven away in a black luxury saloon car from the sprawling presidency at the lush green Margalla hills on the outskirts of Islamabad.
The guard of honour was not attended by either the Prime Minister or the three service chiefs.
However, Sharif had hosted an official farewell lunch for Zardari earlier this week and praised him for keeping the flag of democracy flying in the country.
Zardari, 58, the husband of former PM Benazir Bhutto left for Lahore where he is expected to work on the revival of his Pakistan Peoples Party.