Category Archives: Pakistan

BBC News – Pakistan Supreme Court orders arrest of PM Raja Pervez Ashraf

 

BBC News – Pakistan Supreme Court orders arrest of PM Raja Pervez Ashraf.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has ordered the arrest of PM Raja Pervez Ashraf and 15 others over corruption allegations, raising fears of a political crisis just months ahead of an election.

Mr Ashraf denies accepting bribes when approving power generation projects as minister for water and power in 2010.

Analysts say that the move is unlikely to lead to his immediate removal.

It comes as a populist cleric led thousands of protesters in Islamabad, demanding the government resigns.

Television images showed demonstrators, led by Tahirul Qadri, celebrating and triumphantly applauding as news broke of the court’s order.

The BBC’s M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says it may just be a coincidence – but to many observers the timing of the move bolsters allegations that the cleric is backed by elements of the judiciary and military.

In recent years Pakistan’s government, judiciary and powerful military have been at loggerheads.

Mr Ashraf’s predecessor, Yousuf Raza Gilani, was forced out as prime minister last June after the Supreme Court convicted him of contempt for failing to pursue a corruption case against the president.

Mr Ashraf was appointed in his place, but analysts predicted that his tenure would also be troubled.

The Supreme Court order says the prime minister and the others should be arrested and produced before court within 24 hours. But analysts say the prime minister’s lawyers may find ways of delaying any appearance.

Dogged by controversy

The prime minister’s adviser, Fawad Chaudhry, condemned the order, labelling it unconstitutional, the Associated Press news agency reports.

Mr Ashraf is set to lead the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) into general elections due in May. Analysts say they expect the balance of power in the forthcoming parliamentary polls to broadly stay the same unless turnout is high, which could allow minor parties to translate popular support into seats.

He has long been a senior figure in the PPP, and has twice been a minister in the government which has been in power since 2008.

But it was his tenure as minister for water and power which is dogged by controversy.

The government needed to generate more power to deal with electricity shortages, but there were accusations of corruption from the opposition about the so-called “Rental Power Projects” devised to solve the crisis.

Critics labelled him “Raja Rental” because of the kickbacks he is alleged to have taken – he has consistently denied these claims and left the water and power post in 2011.

But many analysts say this case could simply be a continuation of the long feud between the PPP-led government and the judiciary.

And there have also been chaotic scenes in Islamabad after a long-planned march from Lahore to the capital by Dr Qadri culminated in a mass rally.

Clashes briefly erupted on Tuesday before Dr Qadri addressed his thousands of supporters camped near parliament, vowing to continue his mass protest indefinitely.

The cleric has said he wants the military and judiciary to be involved in installing a caretaker government to oversee the forthcoming elections.

But the government has accused him of trying to postpone elections due by May.

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‘Million Man March’ promises to paralyze Pakistani capital – CNN.com

 

‘Million Man March’ promises to paralyze Pakistani capital – CNN.com.

9-year-old Pakistani girl kidnapped and gang-raped — RT

9-year-old Pakistani girl kidnapped and gang-raped — RT.

A nine-year-old Pakistani girl has been taken to the hospital in critical condition after being kidnapped and brutally gang-raped. The girl’s mother has named the abusers, but no arrests were made.

The girl was admitted to a hospital in Bahawalpur after being raped on Wednesday. She remains in critical condition due to loss of blood and internal injuries, the Express Tribune reported, quoting the hospital’s doctors.

Local police have launched a criminal case against seven men for the kidnap and rape; no arrests have been made yet.

The girl’s mother named five of the seven suspects. She reportedly told police that she hesitated to inform law enforcers because the kidnappers threatened to kill her and the girl if the woman spoke to authorities.

Station House Officer Irshad Joyia said they were ordered to arrest the suspects, but later were informed that the men had fled to Alipur village, the Express Tribune said.

According to a First Information Report (FIR) prepared by police, the girl was beaten and then kidnapped by three women and a man in front of her house in Manzoorabad in Rahim Yar Khanby. The kidnappers reportedly took her another location where she was gang-raped by three men, one of whom was named in the FIR.

The girl was then allegedly taken back to the place from which she was kidnapped. The girl’s mother told police she found her bloodied daugher near their house. She then took the child to Sheikh Zayed Hospital for examination and treatment.

The rape came weeks after a similar shocking case when a six-year-old Hindu girl was allegedly raped in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province at the beginning of December. The child was also reportedly kidnapped and gang-raped. Residents of the province staged several protests in response to the incident.

These two recent cases in Pakistan coincide with a horrifying gang-rape in India that claimed the life of a 23-year-old student raped on a bus by six men, the youngest of whom reportedly was a minor. The six men have all been charged

with murder, gang-rape, attempted murder, kidnapping and other felonies. They are expected to appear in court on Monday.

The case sparked mass protests in New Delhi. Demonstrators, particularly women, demanded the rapists be punished and called for the creation of new laws to protect Indian women.

The incident has drawn international attention to the high rates of violence against women in India, where rape victims often do not report to the police for fear of shaming their families or being ignored by law enforcement.