Newly Nominated Pakistan Prime Minister Wanted For Arrest
THE NATION, THE DAILY TIMES (Pakistan), BBC NEWS (United Kingdom)
ISLAMABAD - Newly nominated Pakistani Prime Minister Makhdoom Shahbuddin came under judicial scrutiny on Thursday, only a few days after the country's Supreme Court disqualified his predecessor, Yousaf Raza Gilani, for contempt of court.
Shahbuddin was nominated Prime Minister of Pakistan by President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday, but a judicial ruling ordering Shahbuddin's arrest is already threatening to derail the process and worsen the on-going conflict between Pakistan's judiciary and governmental forces.
The Daily Times reports that the nomination came after a meeting of the ruling PPP party chaired by president Zardari. Shahbuddin will be filing his nomination papers today. His predecessor, Yousaf Razaf Gilani, was disqualified on Tuesday by the Supreme Court after he refused to pursue corruption charges against President Zardari.
The Pakistani Parliament will vote on the new Prime Minister on Friday.
The BBC reports that if Shahbuddin's nomination is confirmed he will be sure to face similar demands from the Court. But he is already facing additional judicial scrutiny after an anti-narcotics judge from the northern town of Rawalpindi issued an arrest warrant against him.
The warrant is linked to the illegal importing of a drug called ephedrine while Shahbuddin was Health Minister. According to The Nation, Shahbuddin rejects these allegations.
The corruption charges against President Zardari date back to the 1990s. He is accused, along with his late wife Benazir Bhutto, of laundering bribe money through Swiss banks. Benazir Bhutto was Prime Minister at the time.