Thursday, June 21, 2012

Court issues arrest warrant for Pakistani prime minister nominee

(Reuters) - A court has issued an arrest warrant for the ruling party veteran poised to replace Pakistan's ousted prime minister, local television stations reported on Thursday, deepening political uncertainty in the strategic U.S. ally.

Pakistan's president had nominated Makhdoom Shahabuddin as the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) candidate in an apparent bid for continuity ahead of elections due early next year.

Shahabuddin, the textiles minister, filed his nomination papers on Thursday. The ruling coalition has a comfortable majority in parliament, which meets on Friday in an extraordinary session to elect a new prime minister.

In an unexpected twist to Pakistan's latest political saga, an anti-narcotics court issued an arrest warrant for Shahabuddin in connection with a case of violated quota limits for the export of ephedrine while he was health minister.

That case allegedly involved Gilani's son, Ali Musa Gilani, who is accused by anti-narcotics investigators of violating the quotas. Gilani and Shahabuddin have denied any wrongdoing. Read More