Pakistan Supreme Court Orders PM’s Arrest
Pakistan’s Supreme Court has ordered the arrest of PM Raja Pervez Ashraf and 15 others over corruption allegations, raising fears of a political crisis just months ahead of an election.
Mr Ashraf denies accepting bribes when approving power generation projects as minister for water and power in 2010.
Analysts say that the move is unlikely to lead to his immediate removal.
The Supreme Court order says the prime minister and the others should be arrested and produced before court within 24 hours. But analysts say the prime minister’s lawyers may find ways of delaying any appearance.
This is just another example of the ongoing tension between major institutions in Pakistan—and of the significance of the Supreme Court.
It comes as a populist cleric led thousands of protesters in Islamabad, demanding the government resign.
Television images showed demonstrators, led by Tahirul Qadri, celebrating and triumphantly applauding as news broke of the court’s order.
The BBC’s M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says it may just be a coincidence – but to many observers the timing of the move bolsters allegations that the cleric is backed by elements of the judiciary and military.