President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari. - File Photo

DUBAI: Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari is to remain under medical observation in Dubai and it could be weeks before he returns home, an Emirati daily newspaper reported on Friday.

“It can take two days or even more than two weeks, it all depends on what doctors advise him,” Gulf News said, citing one of Zardari's close aides at the hospital.

“He may leave the hospital and rest in his house under observation of doctors, but we want him to stay here because he needs rest,” the aide said.

The deeply unpopular 56-year-old president has a long-standing heart condition and his admittance to hospital sparked fevered speculation in Western and Pakistani media that he may be on his way out.

Zardari, elected in 2008, faces a major scandal over what extent he may have been involved in alleged attempts by his ambassador to Washington - since forced to resign - to seek US help to limit the power of Pakistan's powerful military.

If he remains in office until his mandate ends, and polls are held, it would be the first democratic transition of power in Pakistan, where the military has staged four coups and ruled for more than half the country's existence.

“The president is stable, comfortable and is resting,” the presidential palace said in a statement on Thursday.

“Initial tests and investigations have been within normal range while further tests will be carried out,” it read.

One member of the cabinet told AFP that he had suffered a minor heart attack. There was no immediate confirmation from aides of local press reports that he had suffered a minor stroke.

Zardari was moved from an intensive care unit to a normal hospital room on Thursday evening, presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar told AFP.


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