Pakistan Picks Another PM

But Raja Pervez Ashraf already accused of corruption
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2012 8:09 AM CDT
Pakistan Picks Another PM
In this photo taken Thursday, June 21, 2012, Raja Pervez Ashraf is seen as he leaves the Parliament in Islamabad.   (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)

It's been a wild few days for Pakistan's leadership. First the country's high court gave Yousuf Raza Gilani the boot; then the ruling party's new nominee for prime minister was hit with an arrest warrant over alleged drug trafficking. Now, the party has nominated a new contender—and he's likely to become prime minister following a parliamentary vote today, the New York Times reports. "Raja Pervez Ashraf is our final nominee," said a party official, according to the BBC. But the controversy isn't over.

Ashraf, once water and power minister, already faces anger over the country's electricity woes; he's also been accused of corruption. Opposition officials claim he scored kickbacks from private energy initiatives, and he was questioned by investigators in April. Ashraf isn't likely to win reelection, experts say—and that may be precisely why the Pakistan People's Party chose him. If he becomes PM, the high court will likely demand he open a corruption investigation into President Asif Ali Zardari. Gilani's ouster followed his refusal to do so; if Ashraf were similarly "disqualified," it would mark only a minor political setback for the party, analysts say. (More Pakistan stories.)

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