Pakistan President vows to return soon
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.