New Delhi: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf is likely to be arrested on Wednesday following the country's Supreme Court's directions given to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the corruption case.

Pakistan Supreme Court on Tuesday had ordered to arrest 16 accused including the PM by Wednesday afternoon and present them before it the same day.

However, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the country's main anti-corruption agency, had so far refused to act on the court's directive. During Tuesday's hearing, the bench also issued a notice for contempt of court to NAB chief Fasih Bukhari.

Meanwhile, Pakistan is already witnessing anti-government movement led by Maulana Tahirul Qadri, an Islamic cleric, who has given an ultimatum to PPP government to quit power and dissolve national and state assemblies.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Apex Court said that Pakistan's general elections, due this year, will be held on time, and the Election Commission should be ready for it.

Hearing a case related to reforms in the election process, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said the elections cannot be delayed. Chief Justice Chaudhry remarked that the elections would be held on time no matter what. No compromise would be acceptable, he added.

62-year-old Ashraf, who became Prime Minister after the exit of Yousuf Raza Gilani in June last year, has been accused of receiving kickbacks and commission in the Rental Power Projects (RPPs) case as federal minister for water and power.

Gilani had to quit in the midst of a raging battle with the Supreme Court over his refusal to write to Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari there. After Ashraf assumed power, the government wrote to Swiss authorities.

It is not clear as to what will be the political fallout of the Supreme Court's order against Ashraf as this is probably the first case of an incumbent Prime Minister being ordered to be arrested in a corruption case. It remains to be seen whether the ruling PPP will elect a new leader to replace Ashraf.

In March last year, the Supreme Court had declared all contracts signed by the government for "rental power plants" as illegal and directed authorities to take legal action against those responsible for clearing the projects, including Ashraf.


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