Pakistan Official: I Refuse to Arrest PM

Fasih Bokhari tells Supreme Court its arrest order flawed
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 17, 2013 3:33 AM CST
A supporter of Pakistani Sunni Muslim cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, cleans the ground in front of the tents where she and others are camping near the parliament, during an anti-government rally in Islamabad,...   (Muhammed Muheisen)
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(Newser) – Pakistan's anti-corruption chief refused a Supreme Court order to arrest Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf in a graft case today, citing a lack of evidence in the latest clash between the government and the country's top court. Fasih Bokhari, chief of the National Accountability Bureau, told the Supreme Court during a hearing that the initial investigation into the corruption case against Ashraf and more than a dozen others was flawed and he needed more time to determine whether the premier should be arrested.

The case involves kickbacks that Ashraf allegedly took during his time as minister of water and power that were related to private power stations built to provide electricity to energy-starved Pakistan. The prime minister has denied the allegations. The investigating officers "were not able to bring incriminating evidence but relied on oral statements which are not warranted in the court of law," said Bokhari. The Supreme Court has clashed repeatedly with the government over the past year, and one judge chided Bokhari, saying he was acting more like a defense lawyer than a government prosecutor. (Read more Pakistan stories.)

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