ISLAMABAD — President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan stepped down Sunday at the end of his five-year term, becoming the first democratically elected president in the country’s history to complete his full term in office.
At a ceremony at the presidency shown live on state television, an honor guard bid farewell to a smiling Zardari. His successor, Mamnoon Hussain, is scheduled to be sworn in Monday.
Zardari rose to power after the assassination of his wife, two-time prime minister Benazir Bhutto, in a gun and bomb attack in Dec. 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 Islamist militancy. However, economic mismanagement and a failure to tackle the country’s energy crisis hurt Zardari’s popularity, they say.
In an interview to be aired on Monday, Zardari talked about ‘‘lost opportunities’’ and admitted that the economy could have been better managed. Zardari said he took pride in the rewriting and amendments made to the country’s constitution. Over the years, various Pakistani military dictators made changes to the constitution to suit to their whims.