The Supreme Court of Pakistan Building.—AFP (File Photo)

ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officials are to appear before the Supreme Court on Thursday over orders to arrest the prime minister and 15 other people on accusations of graft in 2010.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had ordered that all those accused of graft in power generation projects be arrested and for the NAB chairman to report to the court.

Coming as Tehrik-i-Minhajul Quran (TMQ) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri leads tens of thousands of protesters outside parliament to demand that the government resign, Tuesday's order sparked panic about an alleged judiciary-military plot to derail elections due by mid-May.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik threatened overnight to disperse the crowd unless leader Qadri ends the demonstration, the largest political rally in the capital for years, but President Asif Ali Zardari later intervened to stop authorities from using force against protesters.

“The NAB chairman is going to appear before the Supreme Court tomorrow,” the bureau's lawyer Aamir Abbas told AFP late on Wednesday.

Asked if any arrests were made so far, as ordered by the court, Abbas replied: “I am not aware about arrests.”

Commentators doubt that Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf will be detained imminently given that the case has already been running for years.

Lawyers say that even if he is arrested for questioning over the allegations, which date back to his time as water and power minister, he can remain in office unless and until he is convicted.

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Comments (4)

January 17, 2013 4:09 am
I do not understand. They are accused which means innocent till proven guilty. Why an arrest warrant? Is there a fear that PM of Pakistan will leave the country?
January 17, 2013 4:10 am
way to go. shameless. But am I talking about? Our whole nation is like this.
Akram Malik
January 17, 2013 3:23 am
Of course he can remain in office, this is the rule in Pakistan. There are more than one Federal minister who has been charged with serious crimes, but they remain in office. This is considered by some, to be a badge of honour.
Shahid Masud 12
January 17, 2013 2:55 am
If PM has little bit of morality left in him then he should resign and face the charges . It's so sad to say that there appears to be no honest and capable person in Pakistan to lead the country.
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