World Bulletin / News Desk
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.
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.
It is unclear whether the arrest warrant will undermine Shahabuddin's nomination. The PPP has meanwhile nominated another candidate, former information minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, as a candidate for prime minister as well.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday declared Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani ineligible for office for refusing to re-open corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari, triggering a new crisis in Pakistan.
At the time, a senior aide to Gilani said only parliament could dismiss the prime minister, raising the possibility of a confrontation between the judiciary and government, but by nominating a new man the president has accepted the ruling and backed away from a fight.
But the former deputy finance minister will likely face the same pressures as did Gilani from Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry to reopen old corruption cases against Zardari.
Thousands of corruption cases were thrown out in 2007 by an amnesty law passed under former military president Pervez Musharraf, paving the way for a return to civilian rule.
Two years later, the Supreme Court ruled that agreement illegal, and ordered the re-opening of money laundering cases against Zardari that involved Swiss bank accounts.
Gilani and his government refused to obey the court's order to write to Swiss authorities asking them to look again at those cases, arguing that Zardari had immunity as the head of state.
The top court in Bangladesh has upheld the death sentence for top leader Motiur Rahman Nizami.
$4 million ransom demanded for release of 4 Indonesians, after 10 others freed by ISIL-linked militants
Report says government minister asked US embassy to refrain from using term during high-level talks
In Brussels, Abe seeks to strengthen economic relations between Japan and the European Union
US military confirms incident for which Taliban claims responsibility
South Korean government stresses Iran's opposition to nuclear weapons on Korean Peninsula, as Pyongyang reportedly mulls fifth nuclear test
Comments come after Abu Sayyaf beheaded Canadian hostage, released 10 Indonesian sailors
Meters bill patients 50 yuan ($7.70) for transportation for up to 3 kilometers, and 7 yuan for every kilometer thereafter
Homes destroyed in Rakhine's squalid Baw Du Pha camp, inhabited by mostly Rohingya Muslims for almost four years.
Interior minister says 'government of Pakistan and not Donald Trump' will decide the fate of imprisoned doctor who helped track down Osama bin Laden
Doctors Without Borders calls for impartial inquiry into air strike that killed 42
Minister refuses to comment on if employer of 10 sailors freed Sunday contributed to $1 million ransom
Beijing insisting on legal rights of mainland’s judicial bodies over Taiwanese suspects it accuses of telecom fraud
Police confirm release of 10 sailors abducted from boat in March
Political and historic tensions discussed during first bilateral by top Japanese diplomat to Beijing in over 4 years
Umbrella group of insurgents says military gov’t delegation refused to endorse previously agreed upon ‘terms of reference’