Pakistan Nominates New Prime Minister

...and a warrant is immediately issued for his arrest
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2012 7:31 AM CDT
Pakistan Nominates New Prime Minister
Makhdoom Shahabuddin, nominated prime minister by the ruling Pakistan People's party, waves after filing his candidacy paper at the Parliament, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Thursday, June 21, 2012.   (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

No sooner had Pakistan's ruling party nominated a new prime minister today than a warrant was issued for his arrest on drug trafficking charges. The PPP picked Makhdoom Shahabuddin to replace the recently ousted Yousuf Gilani, the AP reports. Shahabuddin is a longtime PPP stalwart, having held various positions in both Gilani's Cabinet and Benazir Bhutto's. But an anti-narcotics court quickly issued an arrest warrant, saying he'd helped illegally import ephedrine during a stint as health minister.

It's unclear if the warrant will derail Shahabuddin's shot at the job; legal analysts tell the BBC he could still be elected prime minister even if he is arrested. Parliament is set to vote on his nomination tomorrow. Should lawmakers reject him, another candidate, Raja Pervez Ashraf, will be waiting on deck. But whoever is elected will face the same problem Gilani did: The Supreme Court is demanding a corruption investigation targeting President Asif Ali Zardari, and could boot anyone refusing to open one. (More Makhdoom Shahabuddin stories.)

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