Zardari`s health improving: Gilani

Last Updated: Saturday, December 10, 2011 - 23:40

Islamabad: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani
on Saturday said President Asif Ali Zardari`s health is improving
while the ailing leader`s physician announced that he was
expected to make an "early recovery".

Zardari was resting in a Dubai hospital on the advice of
doctors, Gilani told a TV news channel.

"He (President Zardari) is improving," the premier said.
Gilani said the President, who was feeling comfortable,
had talked to him on phone Friday when former premier
Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and former Punjab Chief Minister
Chaudhry Pervaiz Ilahi called on him at the Prime Minister
House.

In a related development, a health bulletin issued from
Dubai this evening by Zardari`s personal physician said: "The
President is making smooth progress and feels better. The
treating doctors are confident about an early recovery."
Zardari was resting in a Dubai hospital on the advice of
doctors, Gilani told a TV news channel.

"He (President Zardari) is improving," the premier said.
Gilani said the President, who was feeling comfortable,
had talked to him on phone Friday when former premier
Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and former Punjab Chief Minister
Chaudhry Pervaiz Ilahi called on him at the Prime Minister
House.

In a related development, a health bulletin issued from
Dubai this evening by Zardari`s personal physician said: "The
President is making smooth progress and feels better. The
treating doctors are confident about an early recovery."

The bulletin did not give details about Zardari`s ailment
or say when the leader is likely to be discharged from
hospital. When he was asked about the speculation Zardari’s
health, Gilani said: "Anybody can fall sick and he (Zardari)
is also an average human being."
He said he and Zardari`s family had insisted that the
President should go abroad for medical tests, a check-up and
treatment.

Gilani cited "security reasons" as the reason for the
advice given to Zardari to go abroad. He recalled that there
were some security threats when Zardari`s late father Hakim
Ali Zardari was admitted to a hospital in Islamabad earlier
this year.

The premier said he and Zardari`s son Bilawal Bhutto
Zardari were present at the helipad to see off the President
when he left for Dubai on Tuesday.

Zardari`s sudden visit to Dubai and the fact that the
government has not set a date for his return has led to
speculation that the unpopular leader might resign due to
growing pressure on him from the powerful military.

The President has been at the centre of a storm since
Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz made public a
secret memorandum sent to the US military that sought American
help to stave off a possible military takeover in May.

Despite denials from officials, Islamabad continues to be
abuzz with rumours and unconfirmed reports that Zardari had
suffered a "minor heart attack" and facial paralysis.

Gulf News daily yesterday quoted an unnamed presidential
aide as saying that Zardari may not return to Pakistan for
weeks.

In an effort to counter these reports *and to prove that
he was not incapacitated, Zardari broke his silence Friday
and spoke on the phone to the Prime Minister and several
journalists.

One senior journalist who spoke to Zardari told the Dawn
newspaper that contrary to reports of his incoherence and
impaired speech, the President sounded "his usual self and was
in a good mood".

"He laughed when asked about the speculation
surrounding his illness," the unnamed journalist said.

The President reportedly said he went to Dubai as he did
not trust hospitals in Pakistan and that he would be back
"soon". Asked if there was any chance he would resign, Zardari
said he "was not the type to resign".

Mark Siegel, a close Zardari associate who lobbies for
the Pakistan government in Washington, told ABC News: "He was
totally lucid, said he`ll return soon, and we spoke in detail
about US-Pakistan relations, the NATO crisis and other
bilateral issues."

Siegel said Zardari "could not have been more engaged or
focused."

PTI



First Published: Saturday, December 10, 2011 - 23:40

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