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PPP leader Syed Khursheed Shah. — Photo by Online/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) will announce the name of its candidate for the post of prime minister on Friday at 11 am, DawnNews reported.

All coalition partners have reposed their confidence on President Asif Ali Zardari and his party to choose the candidate of their choice, said a Presidency’s spokesperson after attending a meeting of leaders of coalition parties here.

The spokesperson said that PPP’s central leader Syed Khursheed Shah will announce the name of the candidate in a press conference which will be held on Friday at 11 am.

The meeting was chaired by the president and was attended by PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and prominent leaders of the ruling party and its allies.

Political consultations had picked up pace after filing of nomination papers for the vacant post. Syed Khursheed Shah met with Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman at his residence, while, Fazl contacted Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain.

The latter had reservations on nomination of two out of three candidates the ruling party had come up with. Raja Pervez Ashraf and Makhdoom Shahabuddin’s nomination disgruntled the MQM for having dubious backgrounds.

However, the PML-Q participated in consultations in rather content manner after removal of Ahmed Mukhtar from the race to the PM House.

President Zardari’s bid to fill the power vacuum caused by his prime minister’s departure had faced further hiccups on Thursday when the Anti Narcotics Force (ANF) issued an arrest warrant for his preferred candidate, Makhdoom Shahabuddin.

Earlier, in an informal conversation with media representatives at the Parliament House, Syed Khursheed Shah said that the coalition would announce their final decision on the nominee for prime minister after tonight’s meeting.

The former minister for religious affairs said that his party had submitted nomination papers to the National Assembly Secretariat for three of its candidates.

The Secretariat had accepted nomination papers for five candidates to the prime minister’s seat. Three candidates from the PPP, including Makhdoom Shahabuddin, Qamar Zaman Kaira and Raja Pervez Ashraf, filed their papers, while the Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) fielded  Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan as their candidate and chief of his own faction of the JUI, Maulana Fazlur Rehman also submitted his candidacy papers.

Although reservations were raised over Shahabuddin’s eligibility, papers for all five candidates were accepted.

Meanwhile, Awami National Party (ANP) leader Haji Adeel told reporters in Islamabad that his party was the PPP’s coalition partner, and that they did not need to ‘strike a deal’ to support them.

Moreover, he said that the ANP’s 13 members in the National Assembly will vote for the coalition’s candidate.

Members of Parliament are scheduled to meet Friday, June 22, at 5:30 PM to elect new the prime minister. NA Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza will chair the proceedings.

After election on Friday, the majority candidate will emerge as Prime Minister-elect, until he takes oath of the office to become PM. After taking oath, the new premier will seek vote of confidence from the House.


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