Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari set to step down at end of five-year term


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The Independent Online

Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari is stepping down at the end of his five-year term, becoming the first democratically-elected president in the country's history to complete his full tenure in office.

Spokesman Farhatullah Babar said the presidency is holding a farewell ceremony on Sunday.

Mr Zardari rose to power after the assassination of his wife, prime minister Benazir Bhutto, in a gun and bomb attack in December 2007.

Analysts count his government's completion of a full term in a hostile political environment to his credit, as well as his strong stance against Islamic militancy.

They say mismanagement of the economy and failure to tackle the country's energy crisis hurt Mr Zardari's popularity.

Mamnoon Hussain, from the new government of prime minister Nawaz Sharif, is set to replace Zardari as president.