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Pakistan's Supreme Court Orders PM's Arrest
Pakistan's supreme court has ordered the arrest of prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf over corruption claims.
The surprise move plunges the country into fresh political turmoil and came as populist cleric Tahirul Qadri demanded the resignation of the government in protests attended by thousands in capital Islamabad.
Mr Ashraf is currently fighting allegations he received payments in return for his role, while energy minister, in overseeing the introduction of "rental power" projects that are said to have produced very little power.
Nicknamed 'Raja Rental' by the press, he is also accused of buying property in London from money earned through corruption in a series of scams.
Lawyer Aamir Abbas said: "The chief justice ordered that all concerned, regardless of their rank, who have been booked in the case be arrested and if someone leaves the country, then chairman of NAB (anti-corruption watchdog) will be held responsible along with his investigating team.
"The 16 include Raja Ashraf."
Mr Qadri, who is believed to be backed by the military, mentioned the supreme court's decision during his speech to protesters, who responded with chants of "long live supreme court".
The prime minister's adviser, Fawad Chaudhry, condemned the court's order, calling it unconstitutional.