Asia

Calls for inquiry into Pakistan PM corruption official's death

Raja Pervez Ashraf (June 2012)
Image caption Mr Ashraf was appointed after Pakistan's last PM was forced out in another dispute with the judiciary

The family of an official investigating a corruption case in Pakistan linked to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has called for an inquiry into his death.

Kamran Faisal was found hanged in the government hostel in Islamabad where he lived on Friday.

Officials say an interim post-mortem examination suggests Mr Faisal had taken his own life.

But his family says he had bruises, and the father has called for an independent judicial inquiry.

Police said on Friday that they were investigating all possibilities, including murder.

The Supreme Court ordered the arrest of Mr Ashraf on Tuesday over allegations he had accepted bribes when approving power generation projects as minister for water and power in 2010.

He denies the allegations.

'Bruises'

Mr Faisal worked for Pakistan's anti-corruption watchdog, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

His uncle Tariq Masood told reporters at Mian Channu in Punjab province that he had seen bruises while bathing his body ahead of the funeral.

"There are marks on the wrists as if he had been tied. There are marks on the back and below the neck as well," he said.

Pakistani TV channels aired footage of what appeared to be a bruise on his right arm, says the BBC's Shahzeb Jilani in Islamabad.

"We call for an independent judicial investigation into my son's death," his father said.

Image caption Kamran Faisal is said to have played a major role in the investigation of the case against the PM

But an interim report from the official post-mortem examination suggested "there were no marks of injury or bruises on the body except the rope marks on the neck," Dr Sharif Astori, an official spokesperson, said.

On Friday, one of the dead man's associates told the BBC the official had been under considerable stress in recent weeks.

He had played a major role in the Ashraf case until he and another officer were taken off it earlier this month by senior NAB officials, the man told the BBC.

A neighbour also said that Mr Faisal had requested a transfer from the high-profile case and had been very depressed.

Pressure on government

Mr Faisal's death is the latest twist in the long-running corruption case against Mr Ashraf, our correspondent says.

It comes days after the order to arrest the prime minister, which came as a populist cleric led thousands of protesters in a march and sit-in in Islamabad.

Tahirul Qadri and his supporters were demanding that the government resign ahead of elections due in May.

The government has since reached a deal with the cleric, agreeing to dissolve parliament before 16 March, but the events have raised fears of a political crisis in Pakistan.

Analysts say Mr Ashraf is unlikely to be arrested imminently.

The head of the NAB, Fasih Bokhari had refused to carry out the arrest, saying there was not enough evidence to justify it.

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