Zardari sends flowers to Holbrooke

Richard Holbrooke was in critical condition after surgery for a torn aorta.

Islamabad: Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari is reported to have telephoned Mrs Richard Holbrooke on Sunday night and inquired about the health of her husband, who is US President Barack Obama’s Special Envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

According to the Daily Times, Zardari is said to have sent a flower bouquet and a get-well message through Pakistan’s Ambassador in the US Hussain Haqqani.

Holbrooke was reported to be in critical condition after more than 20 hours of surgery to fix a tear in the large artery that moves blood from the heart.

US President Barack Obama said in a statement that he and US First Lady Michelle Obama were praying for his recovery.

Pakistan on Saturday described Holbrooke as a great friend of the country, and hoped that he would recover soon from aortic surgery.

In statement issued on behalf of the Pakistan Government and the Pakistan Foreign Office, Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi said: “Ambassador Holbrooke is a great friend of Pakistan. We wish him health and long life.”

A medical bulletin issued by hospital staff over the weekend said doctors had performed surgery on Holbrooke to repair a tear in an artery.

The US State Department said: “This (Saturday) morning, doctors completed surgery to repair a tear in his aorta. He is in critical condition and has been joined by his family.”

The veteran diplomat was admitted to George Washington University Hospital on Friday after falling ill while at work at the State Department.

He underwent evaluations at the hospital on Friday.

Holbrooke, 69, was entrusted with the task to lead American diplomatic efforts in the region in the early days of the Obama Administration and has since been travelling to the two countries and engaging with the top Pakistani and Afghan officials since.

He has also undertook travels to several European and Asian countries as part of efforts to coordinate the US policy in the region.

The diplomat is a former two-time Assistant Secretary of State, Ambassador to Germany, and was a key player in the Dayton Peace accords, which brokered an end to the conflict in Bosnia.


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