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PPP, coalition to finalise PM nominee tonight

June 21, 2012


Makhdoom Shahabuddin has served as finance minister during Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's government. —AFP Photo

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

The Pakistan People’s Party will now sit down with its allies later tonight to finalise their main nominee for the new premier.

In an informal conversation with media representatives at the Parliament House here today, the PPP’s central leader 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. He said that an important meeting of the PPP and its allies has been called to decide over the issue of selecting a candidate for the coveted seat.

Speaking about the arrest warrant issued for previous preferred candidate Makhdoom Shahbuddin in his alleged involvement in the Ephedrine import scam, Shah called an effort to derail the system, saying that it was unfortunate that some members of Parliament were part of the conspiracy to destabilise the system.

The National Assembly Secretariat today 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.

Chief of his own faction of the Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam, 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.