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Ill Zardari 'suffered mini-stroke'

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari suffered a 'mini-stroke' when he was taken ill recently, one of his aides has said.

The attack prompted him being taken to hospital in Dubai.

The aide, who did not want to be identified, said the diagnosis had been made by the president's two physicians.

A "mini-stroke" is medically known as a transient ischemic attack, or TIA. It occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is briefly interrupted, causing symptoms similar to a stroke but not as long-lasting. A TIA, is often a warning that a person is at risk for a more serious and debilitating stroke. About one-third of those who have a TIA will have an acute stroke some time in the future.

Drug therapy or surgery may be recommended to reduce the risk of subsequent stroke.

Mr Zardari's trip to Dubai last week has led to speculation - denied by the government - that he is losing his grip on power.

The aide said Mr Zardari will stay under observation in Dubai for around two weeks before returning home. Officials had originally said that Mr Zardari's trip was for routine medical tests. They then said he was having treatment related to a heart condition.

Questions about the president's future come as Pakistan is navigating a rough patch in relations with its most important ally, the United States, following Nato airstrikes last month that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The government called more than a dozen of its envoys back to Islamabad amid the crisis for a rare two-day meeting that started on Monday.

The attack has pushed the already strained US-Pakistani relationship close to the breaking point, imperilling Washington's efforts to get Islamabad to cooperate on the Afghan war. Turmoil surrounding the Pakistani president would further complicate matters.

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