Ashraf Raja is accused of taking bribes in a case of illegal investigating energy contracts the Supreme Court. There is opposition demonstrations in Islamabad.
Pakistan's Supreme Court today ordered the arrest of Prime Minister Ashraf Raja on suspicion of corruption in a case of illegal energy contracts.
The announcement comes at a time of great tension. Since Monday night, the capital, Islamabad, is the scene of demonstrations by thousands of people led by an influential religious leader Tahir ul Qadri, who denounces "incompetence" and "corruption" of the authorities.
Moreover, the Pakistani police today launched tear gas into a crowd of protesters converged on Parliament, convened by the influential Muslim leader.
Armed with sticks, the protesters threw stones at the security forces within 500 meters of the Parliament, while gunfire of undetermined origin .
This is the most important event organized by the opposition in Islamabad from electoral victory in 2008, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) of President Asif Ali Zardari.
The movement was launched by Tahir ul Qadri, a Pakistani-Canadian who returned to Toronto in December after years of exile, who denounced the seizure of power by an elite of landowners and industrialists "incompetent" and "corrupt".
Close to President Zardari, Prime Minister Ashraf was appointed last June to replace Yusuf Raza Gilani.
The Supreme Court and forced to resign Raza Gilani for refusing to reopen an old corruption investigation against Zardari.
The Pakistani government said it received no notice of a detention order of the Supreme Court against the prime minister.
"At the moment we have not received any written document of the Supreme Court. Government, the justice minister and prime minister have not received anything," said a government spokesman.
The arrest warrant, issued shortly after noon local affects other fifteen people, to be brought before the Supreme Court within 24 hours.
The current prime minister was responsible for energy and water between early 2008 and 2011, during which he blamed irregularities in the failure of an initiative to reduce energy shortages by renting private power plants.
The project, involving foreign private companies, cost billions of dollars of public funds but hardly helped alleviate electricity shortages suffering endemic Asian country.
Ashraf accused of receiving bribes became dubbed by local media as "Raja holiday".