The Pakistani Supreme Court has ordered the arrest of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf in connection with a corruption case, officials say.
The court ordered the arrest of PM Ashraf on Tuesday morning, in relation to a case relating to contracts for the purchase of rental power plants by the federal government when Ashraf was the federal minister for water and power.
The Prime Minister, in his capacity as minister for water and power "violated the principle of transparency, therefore, his involvement in getting financial benefits out of the same by indulging in corruption and corrupt practices cannot be overruled", the order said.
The Supreme Court ordered the arrest of 16 people, including the prime minister, and directed authorities to present Ashraf in court on Thursday, Aamir Abbas, a lawyer for the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), 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 anti-corruption watchdog- NAB will be held responsible along with his investigating team," Abbas said.
Fawad Chaudhry, an adviser to the PM, condemned the court’s order, calling it "unconstitutional".
Asif Ali Zardari, the Pakistani president and co-chairman of Ashraf’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), called a meeting of all parties of the ruling coalition in Karachi on Wednesday in the wake of the announcement.