Pakistan paralysed after court demands PM arrest
Pakistan is facing a deepening crisis after the country's highest court ordered the arrest of the Prime Minister today, just hours after tens of thousands of protesters demanding the dismissal of the government engulfed the capital.
In scenes that many believe represented little short of an unfolding coup, the Supreme Court ordered the arrest of Raja Pervez Ashraf over allegations of corruption as up to 50,000 supporters of the charismatic Muslim cleric, Tahir ul-Qadri, staged a
mostly peaceful but debilitating sit-in in the heart of Islamabad.
Fawad Chaudhry, a special adviser to Mr Ashraf, claimed last night that the judiciary and the army were working in concert against the government to install an administration of its choosing. "This is the establishment working," said Mr Chaudhry. "They want to dismiss the government and put in a long-term interim set-up."
| The Supreme Court there is getting to be in the habit of dumping corrupt prime ministers. Then again, all of the Pak prime ministers to date have been corrupt...|
Islamabad was paralysed after Dr Qadri, who had been living in Canada until his return to Pakistan last month, arrived with his followers on Monday night, occupying the city's main thoroughfare. Defying the government's orders, he told the crowd to move close to parliament, pushing aside the barricades erected by police. Dr Qadri has instructed the protesters to stay in the capital until his demands are met.
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