Zardari to get guard of honour tomorrow


President Asif Ali Zardari. — File photo
President Asif Ali Zardari. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari will leave the presidency on Sunday on completion of his tenure and will attend the oath-taking ceremony of President-elect Mamnoon Hussain on Monday as a citizen.

Mr Zardari is the first elected president to complete his five-year term.

He has the distinction of addressing the joint sitting of the parliament six times.

“The president will come out of the presidency on Sunday evening and will be escorted to the saluting dais outside the building where he will be given a guard of honour,” according to presidency’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar.

After the guard of honour, he will go straight to the airport to fly to Lahore where he will chair a meeting of leaders and workers of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) at the party secretariat the same day.

According to sources in the PPP, leaders and workers will gather in Lahore from all over the country to receive Mr Zardari.

He will return to Islamabad the following day to attend the oath-taking ceremony of the new president.

During his last few days in the presidency, Mr Zardari received a number of farewell receptions and met a number of people, including diplomats, politicians and senior civil and military officials who congratulated him on completing his term.

In a rare show of political maturity, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif hosted a farewell for Mr Zardari at Prime Minister’s House on Thursday and Mr Zardari reciprocated the gesture by assuring the PML-N government of his party’s full support during the next five years.

Another farewell reception was hosted by the opposition in the parliament building on Wednesday.

The last PPP government had given a guard of honour to former President Gen Pervez Musharraf in 2008 and it was severely criticised for this.

President’s spokesman said that during his five-year term President Zardari faced many ups and downs and faced severe criticism from media and opposition on various issues, including Surrey Palace, money laundering scam, Hussain Haqqani memo, holding dual office, removal of two chairmen of National Accountability Bureau (NAB), and US raid in Abbottabad in which Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed.