Islamabad: Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari is "fine" and will return home soon, a news anchor quoted him as saying on Friday, nearly a week after his rush to a Dubai hospital led to speculation the unpopular leader might resign and even of a possible coup.
"I`m fine and will return soon," Zardari reportedly told Hamid Mir, a popular news anchor, who repeated the comments on state television. "I did not want to leave. My children and friends and the Prime Minister insisted that I go for a checkup."
The issue of the President`s health has gripped Islamabad, exacerbating a series of cascading crises. News media, bloggers and analysts have openly speculated that Zardari would resign or that a coup was afoot.
Zardari seemed to acknowledge the speculation.
"Those that run from the country run with their kids," Mir quoted the president as saying. "My son is in Pakistan. I left him there."
"My enemies will be disappointed."
Zardari likely suffered a transient ischemic attack (TIA), sources said on Friday, which can produce stroke-like symptoms but no lasting damage to the brain.
Zardari was married to late Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and came to power on the back of a sympathy vote after her assassination in 2007.
He has failed to gain the respect of many Pakistanis, and perhaps more importantly, the military.
Zardari, however, would become vulnerable to longstanding corruption charges in Pakistan by losing his legal immunity as a head of state if he steps down.