Pakistan Official Refuses Court Order to Arrest the Prime Minister

The anti-corruption official charged with arresting Pakistan's prime minister on bribery charges is refusing to obey a Supreme Court order to do so, setting off another showdown between the courts and the executive branch. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled that Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf should be arrested on charges that he took kickbacks and other graft when working to bring power plants to Pakistan during his time as the country's minister of water and power. However, the chief of the National Accountability Bureau, Fasih Bokhari,, who is charged with carrying out the order says there is not enough evidence to warrant the decision. 

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The justices dueled with Bokhari at a hearing on Thursday, with each questioning the other's motives and interpretation of the evidence. One accused Bokhari of acting more like Ashraf's defense lawyer than a prosecutor, according to the Associated Press.

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Meanwhile, protesters led by a prominent anti-government cleric continue to clash with police in Islamabad. Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri has demanded that the prime minister and president resign and a new government be formed to replace them, but despite snarling the city with thousands of demonstrators, all his pleas have been ignored. The government accuses the military and the courts of backing Tahir-ul-Qadri in order to destabilize the country and install a more army-friendly regime.

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