Islamabad: President Asif Ali Zardari, who left Pakistan Tuesday after suffering a stroke that caused bleeding in the brain and facial paralysis, will continue to be in Dubai for over two weeks and may even go to London for further treatment, said media reports.
Zardari abruptly left Pakistan for Dubai Tuesday, triggering speculation about his health. There were also rumours of a military coup, which the US scotched Thursday.
Latest media reports said Asif Ali Zardari had suffered a mild stroke as the president’s aides insisted his health was improving and he was “stable, comfortable and resting” in a Dubai hospital.
The mild stroke caused internal bleeding in the brain and facial paralysis, the News Internationalquoted sources as saying. Sources added that though medical test reports were clear and he was out of danger as the stroke and internal bleeding were not life threatening, the president would need long period of treatment, including speech therapy, to resume his normal life.
Britain’s Telegraph said Dubai doctors have diagnosed the ailment as transient ischemic attack. It is caused by a blockage that prevents blood flow to a part of the brain and leads to stroke-like symptoms.
Zardari will continue to be under medical observation at the American Hospital in Dubai and the period may even be more than two weeks before he returns home, Gulf News reported.
The president was shifted out from an ICU to a hospital room Thursday evening. Zardari’s office said his health is improving and he is resting at the Dubai hospital.
The Aiwan-e-Sadr, the president’s residence and principal workplace, issued a statement Thursday that said: “The president is stable, comfortable and is resting.”
“Initial tests and investigations have been within normal range while further tests will be carried out,” the brief statement said.
However, a source quoted by the News International said Zardari had collapsed in the presidency Tuesday due to the stroke and may be taken to London for further treatment.
Zardari is high blood pressure patient and takes blood thinners.
There have been conflicting reports about Zardari’s health.
The official line, a day after Zardari left Pakistan, was that he had gone to Dubai for medical tests and also to meet his children, but army doctors who carried out a medical check declared him fit.
Doctors from the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) had found Zardari fit after a check-up.
On the other hand, the US-based Foreign Policy magazine quoted a former American official as saying that sections of the US government were informed that Zardari had a “minor heart attack” Monday night. He had flown to Dubai via an air ambulance. Zardari may have to undergo an angioplasty procedure Wednesday and may also resign on account of “ill health”, the media report said.
The president’s sudden departure had led to coup rumours.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik Friday tried to douse those rumours by saying: “We understand that the people have given us a mandate for five years through elections and votes, and if someone tried to do something to the government, people would foil such attempts.”