Zardari Leaves Pakistan, Sparking Coup Rumors

Supposedly he's in Dubai due to a health condition
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2011 7:58 AM CST
In this picture taken on Aug. 15, 2010, Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari listens to a reporter at a press conference in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.   (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

(Newser) – Is Pakistan in the midst of a coup? Speculation is running wild that it is, after President Asif Ali Zardari left the country yesterday, flying to Dubai for unclear health reasons—a government adviser says he had a "minor heart attack," but a Zardari spokesman says he's just undergoing routine treatment for a pre-existing heart condition, the Guardian reports. A former US official told Foreign Policy that this might be a pretext for Zardari to resign over "ill health."

The ex-official also said that Zardari was "incoherent" during a weekend conversation with President Obama, because he was under immense pressure to resign thanks to the Memogate scandal. "The noose was getting tighter—it was only a matter of time," he said. One expert predicted Zardari would be replaced by a puppet leader from his own party—speculation further fueled today when Zardari's son and heir-apparent, Bilawal, met with Pakistan's prime minister. But Zardari aides dismissed the rumors. "There's no question of any resignation," one government official said, while a spokesman called such reports "totally speculative."

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