The court issued a warrant for Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday in Rawalpindi, a city near the capital, Islamabad, Zardari's lawyer Farooq Naek said.

 

"We filed an application that Zardari has had a heart operation and that he cannot come, but the court rejected it," Naek said.

 

Zardari is at a US hospital after undergoing angioplasty, said Nazir Dhoki, a spokesman for Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party in which Zardari is a senior figure.

 

Corruption

 

The former lawmaker and government minister was released in December from eight years in prison over other corruption cases after the Supreme Court granted him bail.

 

He later travelled to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where Bhutto had been living since 1999 to escape arrest at home for corruption cases against her.

 

Bhutto was elected Pakistan's
prime minister in the 1980s and 90s

Bhutto was twice elected prime minister in the 1980s and 90s - but both times her government was dismissed over allegations of misrule and corruption.

 

Bhutto's party joined hands with other opposition groups in a countrywide strike on Friday to press demands for the president, General Pervez Musharraf, to step down.

 

Bhutto’s party

 

The same day, Musharraf, who seized power in 1999 in a bloodless coup, in an interview with The Associated Press praised Bhutto's party but said the constitution bars a third term as prime minister.

 

Musharraf said under Pakistan's constitution Bhutto was not eligible for a third term.

 

However, he said Bhutto's party still has a role to play in Pakistani politics.

 

"I see a future of the Pakistan People's Party," Musharraf said. "It's a great party; it is one of the mainstream parties of Pakistan."