- Air Force cadets ‘revolt’ after officials remove biblical verse from whiteboard
- Rep. Lee: Paul Ryan out of touch with urban Americans
- House votes down resolution to force Issa to apologize
- Kremlin blocks opposition websites; Kasparov fears Putin plans ‘something drastic’
- Saving trees? EPA wastes $1.5 million storing unneeded pamphlets in warehouse
- Scott Brown Senate bid in New Hampshire may launch soon
- Jeffrey Corzine, son of ex-N.J. governor, dead at 31
- Australian surfing magazine sorry for calling indigenous surfer ‘apeish’
- Records: Man in Fla. theater shooting also was texting
- The Putin problem: U.S. needs Russian rockets for spy satellites
Separation of powers fight roils Pakistan
Top judge: Arrest prime minister
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s top court ordered the arrest of the prime minister in a corruption case Tuesday, the latest clash between the government and a judiciary that repeatedly has pressured the country’s political leaders.
The ruling is sure to inflame the already antagonistic relationship between the court and the government, pushing the country toward yet another political crisis.
It also could provide ammunition to Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, a firebrand Muslim cleric who was leading tens of thousands of people in a second day of rallies in Islamabad to press for the removal of the government, which he criticized as corrupt and indifferent to the common man.
The Supreme Court order against Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf was related to a case involving private power stations set up to provide electricity to energy-starved Pakistan. The judges are investigating allegations that the bidding process was marred by corruption.
An adviser to the prime minister, Fawad Chaudhry, said any attempt to arrest the prime minister would be unconstitutional since he enjoys immunity from prosecution while in office.
“We consider it a judicial coup, and it is part of a greater plan to derail democracy,” Fawad Chaudhry said.
The judges pressured Mr. Ashraf as well, and the government finally agreed to the court’s demand to ask the Swiss to pursue the case — which Swiss authorities have said privately they have no intention of doing because Mr. Zardari enjoys immunity while in office.
It was unclear whether there was any connection between the Supreme Court’s order and Mr. ul-Qadri’s rally. But some speculated it was a scripted one-two blow by the chief justice and the cleric to strike at their opponents in the government.
Mr. ul-Qadri has seized on alleged corruption by Pakistani politicians to rally support for his protest against the government.
The cleric rocketed to national prominence after his return from Canada late last year, and his message has galvanized many Pakistanis who say the government has brought them only misery.
But critics fear that Mr. ul-Qadri and his demands for election reforms may derail the country’s upcoming democratic elections, possibly at the behest of the country’s powerful military — allegations denied by the cleric.
Those concerns could intensify following a fiery speech he delivered Tuesday to protesters, in which he condemned the country’s politicians as corrupt thieves and lavished praise on the Supreme Court and the military, which has a history of toppling civilian governments in coups.
TWT Video Picks
By Bob Dole
The industrious island has proved itself worthy of U.S. inclusion
- F-35 secrets now showing up in Chinas stealth fighter
- FBI blocked in corruption probe involving Sens. Reid, Lee
- USS Kidd sent to Indian Ocean after 'indication' of Malaysian jet crash
- College group's diversity event canceled after excluding white people
- Justice Department refuses info on hundreds of prosecutor misconduct cases
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- MILLER: Law enforcement realizes good people with guns deter crime
- CURL: Calm down, conservatives: Obama's 'Two Ferns' bit was brilliant
- PRUDEN: Sink sank own campaign in Florida special election
- EDITORIAL: Lois Lerner's dilemma
Chaos as Manhattan building explodes
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again