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Jan 17, 2013 at 01:48pm IST

Pakistan PM Raja Pervez Ashraf meets allies, files bail plea against arrest order

Islamabad: Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, facing arrest in a corruption case, has convened a meeting of coalition parties of the government to discuss the politician situation in the country. The meeting is scheduled to start at 12:30 pm (Pakistan time) even as the Supreme Court will hear Ashraf's plea for bail. Apart from Ashraf's party the PPP, the other allies including the PML-Q, MQM, and ANP leaders are expected to attend meet

The Supreme Court will also give a deadline to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to register a case against the Ashraf. The 62-year-old Ashraf along with 15 others has been accused of allegedly receiving bribes in the Rental Power Projects (RPPs) case as federal minister for water and power. He became the Prime Minister after Yousuf Raza Gilani was forced to quit in June 2012.

Even though the court in its order on Tuesday gave the NAB 24 hours to arrest the Prime Minister and 15 others in the corruption case, Ashraf is yet to be taken into custody. On Thursday officials refused the court order to arrest Ashraf.

In March 2012, 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.

The NAB, Pakistan's main anti-corruption agency, had so far refused to act on the court's directive. During Tuesday's hearing, the bench issued a notice for contempt of court to NAB chief Fasih Bukhari.

Pakistan is scheduled to elect a new national assembly in a few months. The Supreme Court also said that the general elections will be held on time and added that the Election Commission should be ready for the exercise.

An influential cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, who heads the Tehrik Minhaj-ul-Quran, marched into Jinnah Avenue in the heart of Islamabad with tens of thousands of supporters and gave the government hours to quit and to dissolve the national and provincial assemblies.

He declared that he was leading a "people's democratic revolution". The cleric's party had signed an agreement with the Islamabad administration to hold a peaceful protest a few kilometres from the National Assembly, but the cleric surprised authorities by inciting his followers to remove barricades and move towards a square near Parliament.