Zardari to Return Pak Before Bhutto's Death Anniversary

Rezaul H Laskar/Islamabad
Zardari to Return Pak Before Bhutto's Death Anniversary
President Asif Ali Zardari, currently being treated for a heart condition in Dubai, will return to Pakistan in time for events marking the death anniversary of his late wife, former premier Benazir Bhutto, a federal minister said today.

"The President will return before December 27. The date will be set by his doctors, it is up to them to allow him (to return)," Religious Affairs Minister Syed Khursheed Shah told a TV news channel.

He said Zardari would return to Pakistan and address a meeting to be held at Garhi Khuda Baksh in Sindh province on December 27.

The Bhutto family's mausoleum is located at Garhi Khuda Baksh, which is part of the ruling Pakistan People's Party’s stronghold of Larkana.

Zardari's abrupt departure to Dubai last week to seek treatment for what officials said was a previously diagnosed cardiovascular condition sparked speculation that he could be on the verge of resigning due to growing pressure on him from the powerful military.

PPP leaders have denied reports that Zardari had suffered a minor stroke and that he would step down.

Former premier Benazir Bhutto was killed by a suicide bomber after addressing an election rally in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007.

Her death anniversary is usually commemorated by the PPP's top leadership at Garhi Khuda Baksh.

In a related development, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman told the media that he had held a long meeting with Zardari two days before he left for Dubai and that the President appeared to have been ill at the time.

"I got the impression that he was unwell," he said.
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