ISLAMABAD, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- Pakistani Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the arrest of the country's Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf involved in a corruption case, local media reported.
Raja Pervez Ashraf was accused of violating rules in 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 has 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 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 opinion on how to respond to the court's order.
President Asif Ali Zardari, who was in Karachi, also convened an emergency meeting to discuss the situation arising out of the court's verdict.
Asma Jehangir, a prominent lawyer, said that it was an attack by the judiciary.
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.
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 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 percent to 14 percent down payments to, and purchasing electricity on higher rates, from RPPs".
On Dec. 15, 2011, chief justice had taken suo motu notice of applications of then Housing Minister Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat and Khwaja Asif who alleged that corruption had been committed linked to the RPPs.
On Nov. 24, 2011, Raja Pervez Asharaf told the court that Pakistan needed an addition of 1,200 MW every year as the power requirement would increase to 130,000 MW by 2030.