President Zardari returns to Pakistan amid heightened tensions

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has traveled to Dubai for medical treatment.

Story highlights

  • President Zardari returns to Islamabad, a spokesman says
  • His return comes amid spiked tensions between civilian leadership and the military
  • Zardari denies rumors he is ready to quit
  • Former President Musharraf vows to return to Pakistan
Pakistan's president has returned to his nation's capital after a private trip to Dubai, officials said Friday, amid what appears to be growing tension surrounding his hold on power.
A presidential spokesman said Asif Ali Zardari had traveled to the United Arab Emirates for a wedding, though a day before his aides said he was there for a routine medical check up, according to Naveed Chaudhary.
The president's return comes as riffs between Pakistan's civilian leadership and the military appear to be widening. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani fired his defense secretary Wednesday.
Zardari has denied that he would resign the presidency, a rumor that took on life when the embattled leader made another trip to Dubai last month.
Officials in December said that Zardari was having a "regular checkup" and routine tests related to a previously diagnosed heart condition.
Meanwhile, former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has vowed to return to Pakistan by the end of January and run for office despite authorities' threat of arrest.
Musharraf said in an interview with "Sunday in Dubai" last weekend that he would return from exile to Pakistan between January 27 and 30.
Officials have said that when he does, he will be arrested in connection with the 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Zardari's wife.