Lack of proof halts Pakistan PM arrest

2013-01-17 10:56
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Islamabad - The head of Pakistan's anti-corruption watchdog told the Supreme Court on Thursday he did not yet have enough evidence to move against the prime minister and 15 others on accusations of graft.

The chief justice ordered that all those accused of corruption in power projects dating back to 2010 be arrested and ordered the chairperson of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to update the court on why that had not happened.

His order on Tuesday, coming as a populist cleric led tens of thousands of protesters outside parliament demanding that the government resign, sparked panic about an alleged judiciary-military plot to derail elections due by mid-May.

The rally and the court order has fanned instability in the nuclear-armed country as it edges towards what would be the first democratic transition of power between two civilian governments at the upcoming elections.

Problems

The economy is struggling, Taliban and other violence is at a high, the rupee is sinking, there is an appalling energy crisis and fledgling peace gains with India appear in jeopardy following five cross-border killings in a week.

NAB chairperson Fasih Bokhari told Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry that the investigations into the 2010 power projects were not ready, saying it takes time to find evidence to prosecute those allegedly involved.

Chaudhry dismissed NAB's report as unsatisfactory and ordered Bokhari to report back 15 minutes later with the case files so that the court could itself point out evidence that could form the basis of a prosecution.

In March 2012, the court ordered legal proceedings against Raja, who at the time was a close aide of President Asif Ali Zardari and was water and power minister at the time the power projects were set up.

But on Thursday, a defiant NAB told the Supreme Court it was a constitutional court and therefore was not able to investigate the case.

"Our mandate is to ensure the judgment is implemented. We have based the entire judgment on documentary evidence," hit back Chaudhry.

"There may be some persons who consider themselves to be above the law. I want to tell you no-one is above law. Why your machinery is not moving against the persons concerned, what is the hurdle?" he added.

Rally

On Thursday, an estimated 25 000 people led by populist cleric Tahir-ul Qadri moved into the fifth day of what is the largest rally in the capital since the current government took office in 2008.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik threatened overnight to disperse the crowd, but President Asif Ali Zardari quickly intervened to stop authorities from using force.

A decision by the main opposition parties not to join Qadri but instead call on the government to set an immediate timetable for elections, threatens to isolate the cleric, but on Thursday his supporters appeared defiant.

"I hope the administration will not take any action against unarmed and highly disciplined protestors but if they commit such a blunder, we will retaliate with full force at our disposal," said protester Muhammad Arif.

Disband

The government says parliament will disband in mid-March to make way for a caretaker government and elections within 60 days, sometime in early May but no precise date has been set.

Qadri wants parliament dissolved now and a caretaker government set up in consultation with the military and judiciary to implement key reforms such as setting up a new election commission and banning corrupt candidates.

Qadri's sudden - and apparently well-financed - emergence after years in Canada has been criticised as a ploy by sections of the establishment, particularly the armed forces, to delay the elections and sow political chaos.

While critics dismiss Qadri's supporters as a rent-a-crowd, many of Qadri's supporters articulate real concerns about Pakistan's problems, digging in for the long-haul, with supplies of food, water and mattresses and blankets.

- SAPA
Read more on:    pakistan
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Mind power dominates and can help you to uncover things from a deeper level, but it can also create entanglements if you let your...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.