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Tuesday
Jan152013

Pakistan's Supreme Court Orders Arrest of Prime Minister

AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images(ISLAMABAD) -- The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered the arrest of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, along with 16 others, within 24 hours, amid widespread accusations of corruption in his government.

Tuesday's announcement was made as tens of thousands had marched on the country's parliament.  Led by cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, they had threatened to storm parliament and remove the government by force.

In response, the Karachi stock exchange immediately crashed, losing more than 450 points in a matter of minutes.

Qadri is calling it a victory for his movement.  It's not yet clear if this will disperse the protests or embolden their cause and draw in larger numbers.

The move could effectively plunge Pakistan into dangerous territory, with no effective governance for the near future.  The army, which has engineered coups in the past, could step in and take charge.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio