Pakistan's Supreme Court ordered the arrest of the prime minister

karasiwo23 By karasiwo23, 15th Jan 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>News>Politics

Pakistan's Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the arrest of the prime minister by a corruption case, adding tension to a political climate stirred by the protest of thousands of people demanding the dissolution of Parliament.

Pakistan's Supreme Court ordered the arrest of the prime minister

Pakistan's Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the arrest of the prime minister by a corruption case, adding tension to a political climate stirred by the protest of thousands of people demanding the dissolution of Parliament.

The Supreme Court ordered the arrest of Prime Minister Ashraf Raja on suspicion of corruption in a case of illegal energy contracts, announced a government lawyer, Aamir Abbas.

"The Chief Justice has ordered the arrest of all the accused in this case, whatever his rank," said Abbas.

The announcement comes at a time of great tension. Since Monday night, the capital, Islamabad, is the scene of demonstrations by thousands of people led by an influential religious leader who denounces "incompetence" and "corruption" of the authorities. Close to President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Ashraf was appointed last June to replace Yusuf Raza Gilani.

The Supreme Gilani forced to resign for refusing to reopen an old corruption investigation against Zardari. Zardari's fragile government this spring completed his five-year term, a novelty in a country where coups have been rife. General elections are expected by mid-May.

For its part, the Pakistani religious leader Tahir ul Qadri on Tuesday ordered the continuation of the massive sit-in began Wednesday by thousands of his supporters in the center of the capital, Islamabad, to denounce "incompetence" and "corruption" authorities and demand the immediate dissolution of the Government. "I'll stay" and "I want you to stay until tomorrow," said Qadri in place one of his supporters. "Yes," replied the crowd.

"I'll talk to you again tomorrow. Then I have hope that we do not need to stay longer," said Qadri, a Pakistani-Canadian who returned to Toronto in December after years in exile. Qadri arrived at night in the center of the capital hailed by his supporters and gave an ultimatum to the government to quickly dissolve the federal Parliament and the provincial assemblies.

The ultimatum of Qadri, who warned that his supporters mobilized in the capital continue "until you exclude corrupt leaders", expired on Tuesday. Late in the morning, a senior local security services stood at "about 25,000" protesters gathered in the avenue leading to the Parliament.

In the morning there were brief skirmishes between protesters and police when the former, who spent the night in the place, advanced towards the Parliament, located a few hundred yards away. Police fired shots into the air and fired tear gas as demonstrators began to move the containers that they stood in the way.

Qadri wants to immediately appoint an interim government to conduct, with the agreement of the armed forces and the judiciary, a series of reforms before the elections take place. Some observers believe that sections of the establishment, including the military, who have ruled this country with the atomic bomb for decades, could be behind Qadri demands, in order to delay the elections.

Former cricketer Imran Khan, one of the main opponents of the government of President Zardari on Tuesday urged the head of state to resign "immediately" and the government to call general elections "free and transparent". This statement, made in Lahore, exerts additional pressure on a government weakened by the announcement of the arrest warrant against Ashraf and the continuing sit-in Islamabad.

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Arrest, Ordered, Pakistan, Prime Minister, Supreme Court

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