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Asif for Dubai on way to London

September 13, 2008

KARACHI/ISLAMABAD, Sept 12: After a low-profile maiden visit to Karachi and other parts of Sindh, President Asif Ali Zardari left for Dubai on Friday night.

From there he is expected to fly to London, where he is likely to meet British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

This would be Mr Zardari’s first foreign visit after assuming the presidency.

According to officials, President Zardari will stay in the United Arab Emirates for a day and in the United Kingdom for three days.

In talks with the British Premier, the issue of attacks inside Pakistan’s tribal areas is certain to come up.

The British prime minister has supported US President George Bush’s decision to extend the ‘war of terror’ to the tribal region.

Sources said the president would meet MQM chief Altaf Hussain in London and thank him for his party’s support during the presidential election.

Daughter Bakhtawar would accompany her father to the United Kingdom as she has been enrolled in the Edinburgh University.

Mr Zardari, the sources said, was likely to return to the country on Sept 16. He will address the joint session of parliament on Sept 20, before leaving for the United States to attend United Nations General Assembly session on Sept 22 and 23.

Earlier, President Zardari visited Sehwan and Bhit Shah and offered Fateha at the Mazar of Lal Shabaz Qalandar and Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai.

He also visited Nawabshah and offered Fateha at his mother’s grave.

Talking to people in Nawabshah, the president said the government would honour all its commitments.

President Zardari said he was aware of the problems of the people and would strive for providing them more jobs and economic opportunities.

He said that 40,000 people would benefit from the Benazir Bhutto Skill Development Programme.