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Jan 13, 2012 at 10:58am IST

Zardari cuts short Dubai visit, returns to Pak

Islamabad: Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari cut short his Dubai visit and returned home on Friday amidst crisis, according to reports. Zardari had abruptly left for Dubai on Thursday, supposedly for a wedding. Pakistan's national Assembly is set to meet for a special session on Friday over the ongoing political crisis in the country. The Supreme Court will be key even as the Pakistan government claims to have struck a peace deal with the Army ahead of the special session.

The Parliamentary party meeting of the PPP will be held before the Assembly session to decide if there will be a confidence motion, calling attention or resolution.

The Opposition PML-N has approved two options. It will either give a notice for a no-confidence motion or call for mass resignations from the National Assembly.

Hour after hour, Pakistan's unfolding political drama has been getting a new twist. After a night of speculation of a coup, Pakistan woke up on Thursday to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's assertion that the Army had only issued its statement criticising him after he gave his approval.

A peace deal seemed to have been struck with the Army clarifying that there was to be no meeting of the top commanders either.

Amidst fears of a military coup in Pakistan, President Asif Ali Zardari left for Dubai for a one-day visit, according to reports. Senior reporter of Dawn News Mateen Haidar said that Presidential sources have termed Zardari's visit as a private visit. Sources also said that Zardari will meet his children and doctors in Dubai.

Sources also indicated that Zardari may meet former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.

Meanwhile, responding to criticism, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said that Pakistan was working with maturity to solve the crisis.

This came, even as the Opposition demanded Zardari and Gilani's resignation.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan lashed out at the Pakistan government led by President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, demanding their resignation. He said that early elections were the only way out of the country's current crisis, but also added that he won't support a military coup.

"I have been hearing 'go Zardari go' slogans. If you are serious, then resign from the Assembly and there will be an automatic situation for elections," Khan said on Thursday.

The row erupted after Gilani sacked the Defence Secretary Lt Gen(retd) Naeem Khalid Lodhi, considered to be close to the military, raising fears of a coup.

A disputed memo allegedly from Zardari's government seeking U.S. help in reining in the military has soured relations to their lowest point since a coup in 1999.

Imran Khan claimed that Gilani could have sacked the Defence Secretary on the orders of Zardari. "The Prime Minister is a puppet of President Zardari. He cannot be doing this alone," Khan said.

This has come at a time when Gilani and his government are already on a collision course with the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court called Gilani 'dishonest and dishonourable' on Wednesday.

The Gilani government has also been facing public anger over prices, shortages and corruption.

The Supreme Court has made it clear that it will hear both the corruption case against Zardari and the memogate controversy on Monday.

Both the Army and the government have been rounding up support and watching very closely the Supreme Court's next surprise move because as the analysts of Pakistan have learnt, the only constant in Pakistani politics is change.

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