Zardari’s return may be cameo appearance, says NYT

Washington : President Asif Ali Zardari’s return to Pakistan from Dubai could be just a “cameo appearance” before his wife and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s death anniversary Dec 27 and after that he would be probably leave for a long convalescene in London or Dubai, a media report said.

Zardari had suddenly flown out of Pakistan Dec 6 to Dubai where he was admitted in a hospital. His exact health status is not known with reports ranging from a heart attack to a stroke that caused bleeding in his brain. He returned to Pakistan Sunday night.

New York Times quoted some Pakistani and Western officials last week as saying that “if Zardari returned, it could be only for a cameo appearance before Dec 27”, Benazir’s fourth death anniversary.

After that, Zardari would probably leave for a long – perhaps permanent – convalescence in London or Dubai, the report quoted officials as saying.

Benazir Bhutto (1953-2007) was the first woman prime minister of Pakistan. She was twice the prime minister – 1988-90 and 1993-96 – but could not complete any term.

She was removed in 1996 as prime minister on charges of corruption, and went into self-imposed exile to Dubai in 1998.

Benazir returned to Pakistan in October 2007 after an understanding with then president Pervez Musharraf. She was granted amnesty and all corruption charges were withdrawn.

She was assassinated in December 2007, after a Pakistan Peoples Party rally in Rawalpindi, just two weeks before the scheduled parliamentary elections of 2008.

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