Gillani new frontrunner for Pakistan PM slot

March 1st, 2008 - 6:18 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi

Islamabad, March 1 (IANS) Yousuf Raza Gillani, senior vice president of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), has emerged as the frontrunner for the post of prime minister after it became clear the top slot will go to Punjab to avoid concentration of power in Sindh, the media reported Saturday. Shah Mehmud Qureshi of Punjab and Ahmed Mukhtar of Gujarat are also in the run. However, Gillani is the choice of PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, said The News Saturday.

At an off-the-record briefing for Islamabad based journalists Friday night, Gillani was the only candidate present, the newspaper said.

Earlier, Makhdoom Amin Faheem of the PPP was considered to be the only choice of the PPP.

Faheem appears to have run into some problems because of his reported meetings with some important people in Islamabad without the knowledge of Zardari, said the daily.

However, the party leaders said the PPP central executive committee was yet to decide who would become the prime minister.

Sherry Rehman, the party’s information secretary, said in Geo TV’s Capital Talk Friday that the PPP had not yet chosen the prime ministerial candidate.

She also said Faheem had not been named the party’s candidate, and added that the prime minister’s candidate could be picked from the Punjab province.

“Asif Ali Zardari himself is very firm on not contesting the PM election and wants to stay as the kingmaker in the Sonia Gandhi model, keeping the government of national consensus together,” The News said quoting PPP sources.

PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar said at this point of time the co-chairman had not yet shown any intention to become the PM.

However, the sources also said Zardari would contest the by-election for the National Assembly from Larkana NA-207, the constituency from which slain Benazir Bhutto was to contest. Because of her murder Dec 27, the election in the constituency was deferred.

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