Zardari says he will continue as President

Pakistan`s ailing President Asif Ali Zardari scotched speculation that he could be ousted under a constitutional provision that provides for the removal of a President on the ground of "physical or mental incapacity".

Updated: Dec 17, 2011, 00:08 AM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan`s ailing President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday scotched speculation that he could be ousted
under a constitutional provision that provides for the removal
of a President on the ground of "physical or mental
incapacity".

Talking to a senior Pakistani journalist who had written
a column on the same issue today, Zardari said he was
"absolutely fine" but doctors treating him in Dubai were not
giving him permission to travel back to Pakistan.

Zardari questioned how the first clause of Article 47 of
Pakistan`s Constitution could be used to remove him if he was
absolutely fine.

If the constitutional provision was "forcefully imposed
on him", he would reject it, Zardari was quoted as saying by
the journalist. Clause (1) of Article 47 of the Constitution
states: "Notwithstanding anything contained in the
Constitution, the President may, in accordance with provisions
of this Article, be removed from office on the ground of
physical or mental incapacity."

The President`s abrupt departure for Dubai on December 6
triggered speculation that he could be on the verge of
resigning due to growing pressure on him from the powerful
military establishment in the wake of the "Memogate"
controversy.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said the President
chose to seek treatment in Dubai due to threats he was facing
in Pakistan.

Zardari has been at the centre of a storm since reports
linked him to an alleged secret memo that was delivered by
Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz to the US military
after the killing of Osama bin Laden in May.

The memo sought US help to prevent a possible military
takeover in Pakistan. The government has said both the
President and Prime Minister had no role in drafting and
delivering the memo. However, the government has not set a
date for Zardari`s return to Pakistan.

PTI