Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari
Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari REUTERS

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari flew abruptly from Islamabad to Dubai Tuesday evening, apparently after suffering a minor heart attack, and may resign citing ill health, an American magazine reports.

Zardari left for Dubai to visit his children and undergo medical tests. His physician had earlier indicated that tests were routine and linked to a previously diagnosed cardiovascular condition.

A former U.S. government official spoke to a foreign policy magazine, The Cable, and said that when President Barack Obama spoke to Zardari over the weekend about the NATO airstrike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, the latter was incoherent. Zardari has been feeling the pressure of the Memogate scandal and his testimony about it before a joint session of Parliament was postponed.

The Memogate scandal involves a leaked document suggesting the Pakistan civilian government had sought U.S. intervention to contain its own armed forces and the Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency. A Pakistani-American businessman, Mansoor Ijaz, went public in October with allegations that he was asked to deliver a memorandum from the then-Pakistani ambassador to the U.S., Hussain Haqqani, to Adm. Michael Mullen, who was then chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, on May 10.

The memo suggested that the civilian government in Pakistan would go a long way to meeting U.S. demands on security issues if the latter could exert pressure on the Pakistan army to reign itself in.

The incident has generated considerable political heat in Pakistan. The memo, now available on the Internet, contains a direct request for intervention and unequivocal undertakings by the civilian government to reshape Pakistan's national security leadership.