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Zardari's health fuels quit rumours

Pakistan's president Asif Ali Zardari is in Dubai for medical tests, triggering rumours that he may be stepping down.

The president's spokesman denied the speculation, which centred on the idea Mr Zardari may use ill health as a pretext for quitting, under pressure from the country's powerful military.

Mr Zardari travelled to Dubai on Tuesday for routine tests "related to his pre-existing heart condition" after his children insisted he do so, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said.

He added Mr Zardari was "stable" and would "remain under observation and return to resume his normal functions as advised by the doctors."

Mr Zardari travelled to London in September to undergo a heart scan and was reportedly given a clean bill of health.

Close associates said he is currently "unwell," but did not provide specifics. His condition did not appear to be life-threatening, they said

Mr Zardari, fiercely disliked by many in the media and Pakistan's political world, has been under pressure since the Pakistani ambassador to the US was forced to resign after allegations he sent a memo to Washington asking for its help in reigning in the powerful military.


From Belfast Telegraph