Prime Minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf, on Tuesday convened an emergency meeting in Islamabad to seek legal opinion on the Supreme Court’s order of his arrest in a corruption case.
The apex court issued Ashraf’s arrest warrant at a time when the country was in the grip of political uncertainty in view of the long-march of Tahir-ul-Qadri.
Tahir-ul-Qadri took credit of the arrest warrant and said the verdict was announced when he had just delivered half part of his speech to several thousands of his supporters near the parliament building.
The Supreme Court ordered the arrest of Raja Perves Asharaf and all others involved in the case.
Raja Pervez Ashraf was accused of violating rules in purchasing rental power projects when he was the Minister for Water and Power during this government.
The apex court in its earlier verdict in March last year had observed that the rules and regulations were violated in these projects due to which the national exchequer witnessed losses of billions.
The Supreme Court had declared the Rental Power Projects (RPPs) as illegal and also ordered them to be shut down.
The Supreme Court had in the last year verdict ordered to initiate proceedings against the Former Water and Power Minister Raja Pervez Asharaf and all others involved in the case. However, the country’s anti-corruption panel had not carried out required investigation despite the court’s orders.
Pervez Ashraf, who is still in the Prime Minister’s house, called an emergency meeting shortly after the court issued his arrest warrant. He also called legal experts to the PM house to seek their expert opinion how to respond to the court’s order.
A federal minister informed him about the court’s verdict, sources said.
President Asif Ali Zardari, who was in Karachi, also convened an emergency meeting to discuss the situation arising out of the court’s verdiuct.
Asma Jehangir, prominent lawyer, said that it was an attack by the judiciary saying that
The Supreme court ordered arrest of the prime minister in a corruption case.
The court issued the orders for Ashraf role in buying rent power projects when he was the minister for water and power.
The court also ordered the arrest of several other former ministers and officials involved in the RPPs. The court asked the country’s anti-corruption panel to ensure that no one flee the country.
The apex court ordered submission of all record of the RPPs on Wednesday.
A two-member bench comprising of the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain had previously heard the case last year on his suo motu.
Prior to RPPs, the electricity generation system had sufficient potential, but “instead of taking curative steps for its improvement,… billions of rupees were spent on two RPPs namely BHIKKI and SHARAQPUR, which proved complete failures”, the last year court verdict had stated.
The previous verdict further had held the finance ministry, the state-owned power supply institutions responsible for “causing huge losses to the public exchequer, which run into billions of rupees by making 7% to 14% down payments to, and purchasing electricity on higher rates, from RPPs.”
On December 15, 2011, chief justice had taken suo motu notice on applications of Housing Minister Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat and Khwaja Asif who alleged that corruption had been committed in the affairs of the RPPs.
On Novermber 24, 2011, Raja Pervez Asharaf told the court that Pakistan needed an addition of 1200 MW every year as the power requirement would increase to 1,30,000 MW by the year 2030.