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Zardari will not resign, Pakistani officials say

Reuters/Murad Sezer

Pakistani ministers on Wednesday denied rumours that President Asif Ali Zardari was about to resign after he was flown to Dubai for surgery because of a reported minor heart attack.


Human rights minister Mustafa Khokhar told the AFP news agency that there was "no question of any resignation" and that Zardari would be back in Islamabad on Thursday after an angioplasty.

Dossier: AfPak news and analysis

Zardari’s presidency, which has been hit by charges of corruption and incompetence, has been further destablised by the “memogate” scandal over alleged attempts by a close aide to seek
US help to limit the power of Pakistan's military.

Zardari said on Sunday that he would soon address a joint session of parliament on the matter. It was not clear if the health scare would delay that plan.

Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar told AFP that Zardari was in hospital for tests and a planned medical check-up, but dismissed media reports that he may be forced to step down as "speculative, imaginary and untrue".

The website of the US magazine Foreign Policy reported that Zardari had been considering resignation over health fears and the "memogate scandal".

The article quoted an unnamed former US government official as saying Zardari was “incoherent" when he spoke to President Barack Obama by telephone over the weekend following Nato air strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

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