Connect to share and comment

Pakistan: Prime minister arrest warrant continues instability

A judge has issued an arrest warrant for Pakistan's prime minister nominee, Makhdoom Shahabuddin.

Paki new pm 120620Enlarge
Pakistan's Textiles Minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin is a member of the National Assembly and leader of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) in his native southern Punjab. (Aamir Quereshi/AFP/Getty Images)

Mahkdoom Shahabuddin, Pakistan's nominee for prime minister, now faces arrest on allegations that he was involved in pharmaceutical smuggling during his tenure as health minister of Pakistan.

According to CBS News, a judge presiding over an anti-narcotics court issued an arrest warrant for Shahabuddin, who had been nominated only hours earlier by President Zardari's Pakistan's People's Party (PPP) as the candidate to replace ousted Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani.

Pakistan's Supreme Court found Gilani in contempt of court on Tuesday, forcing him out of his job, and forcing the PPP to quickly put forward a replacement for prime minister to quell fears of a major upheaval.

Pakistan's Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF), which is run by the country's army (which is frequently at odds with the current civilian government) has been investigating accusations that Ali Musa Gilani, the son of the former prime minister, supplied large amounts of ephedrine to two Pakistani pharmaceutical companies, which sold the drugs on the black market to be used as an ingredient to methamphetamine, the Guardian reported.

Shahabuddin was complicit in the narcotics smuggling, sources said. His whereabouts were unknown later Thursday morning. CBS News reported that police were headed to raid four of his properties.

Shabahuddin remains the official PPP nominee, but according to reports, the party is picking a replacement candidate.

Shahabuddin is a member of the National Assembly and leader of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) in his native southern Punjab. Zardari announced his nomination after speaking with representatives from the PPP.

The President has summoned parliament to meet on Friday to elect the new prime minister, the Associated Press reported. The same article speculates that "in moving quickly to install a new premier the government may reduce fears of major upheaval."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/pakistan/120621/pakistan-prime-minister-arrest-warrant-continues-