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Pakistan PM corruption official found dead

BY: Sebastian Syme

One of the officials investigating a corruption case in Pakistan linked to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf has been found dead.

Reports say the man, Kamran Faisal, was found hanged in the government hostel in Islamabad where he lived with colleagues.

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

He denies the allegations.

Police said it appeared that Mr Kamran had killed himself, but that a post mortem examination would be carried out.

"We are investigating from different angles... We will establish an opinion after the autopsy," said Islamabad police chief Bani Amin.

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

'Very depressed'

One of his 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.

The death of Mr Faisal is the latest twist in the long-running corruption case against Mr Ashraf, says the BBC's Shahzeb Jillani in Islamabad.

It comes days after the order to arrest Mr Ashraf, 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.

--BBC