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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 September 2005, 15:05 GMT 16:05 UK
Bhutto husband re-arrest ordered
Zardari being arrested at Islamabad airport in April
Mr Zardari has heart problems, his lawyers say
An anti-corruption court in Pakistan has ordered the re-arrest of Asif Zardari, husband of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

The court in Rawalpindi issued the warrant on Saturday, because Mr Zardari had failed to attend trial hearings.

Asif Zardari was freed on bail last November after spending eight years in prison on charges ranging from corruption to murder.

He is in the US receiving treatment for a heart condition, his lawyers say.

"We filed an application that Zardari has had a heart operation and that he cannot come, but the court rejected it," one of his lawyers, Farooq Naek, told the Associated Press.

'Deal'

A spokesman for the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) of which Mr Zardari is a senior figure said he had undergone angioplasty in the United States.

BENAZIR BHUTTO
Benazir Bhutto

The warrant for Mr Zardari's arrest was issued after he did not turn up for hearings in the ARY-Gold and SGS corruption cases, the official APP news agency reported.

Ms Bhutto and Mr Zardari are the main accused in the cases. She has been living in self-imposed exile since 1999.

Asif Zardari was freed from jail last year as part of what many observers believe was a deal between the PPP and the government.

Since then he has resumed a high-profile political career, with a number of cases against him still pending in the courts.

The BBC's Aamer Ahmed Khan in Karachi says Pakistani judges have in the past shown their displeasure at what they see as Mr Zardari's disregard for their summonses.

But our correspondent says most observers believe his chances of returning behind bars at the moment are slim, as the government is being more accommodating towards PPP leaders.




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