PPP nominates Shahabuddin for prime minister’s post (Lead)

June 21st, 2012 - 12:12 am ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Islamabad, June 20 (IANS) The parliamentary committee of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Wednesday chose senior party leader Makhdoom Shahabuddin as its nominee for the post of country’s new prime minister, Xinhua quoted local media as saying.

The decision was taken at PPP’s parliamentary party meet held in Islamabad to discuss the Supreme Court’s verdict disqualifying prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani from his post and to nominate the country’s next prime minister.

Though there was no official word on the development from the PPP or the presidency but TV channels reported that the meeting agreed on the name of Shahabuddin, Xinhua reported.

President Asif Ali Zardari, who is also co-chairman of the PPP, presided over the Wednesday evening meeting, also attended by outgoing prime minister Gilani.

Zardari has summoned a special National Assembly session Friday to elect the new prime minister. A schedule has also been announced to submit nomination papers for the office of the prime minister with the National Assembly secretariat Thursday.

Presently a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan (February 2008 onwards) and textiles minister, Shahabuddin has earlier held the portfolios of federal minister for finance and health in the Gilani-led government.

Coming from Punjab province’s Rahim Yar Khan city, Shahabuddin has been politically affiliated to PPP, headed by Zardari.

Shahabuddin and Ahmad Mukhtar Chaudhry, minister for water and power, turned strong prime ministerial contenders after the Supreme Court Tuesday ruled that Gilani stood disqualified as prime minister as well as member of parliament.

Earlier, reports said PPP leaders had taken the decision to pick Shahabuddin for prime minister’s office late Tuesday.

Sources told Geo News the decision was taken at a meeting of party leaders under the chairmanship of President Zardari. But the final choice for the post was to be announced Wednesday evening following a PPP’s parliamentary party meet.

On Tuesday, Gilani had expressed reservations over the choice of Shahabuddin during the meeting of coalition partners, who entrusted Zardari to nominate the new prime minister.

The apex court Tuesday ruled that Gilani stood disqualified as prime minister as well as member of parliament since the apex court’s April 26 verdict held him in contempt of court for refusing to write to the Swiss authorities to reopen corruption cases against Zardari.

A three-member bench led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry heard a set of constitutional petitions challenging National Assembly Speaker Fehmida Mirza’s ruling that despite conviction for contempt of court Gilani could continue as the prime minister.

In April, the apex court had sentenced Gilani only “until the rising of the court”, or till the time the judges left the court chamber. That was only for about 30 seconds after the verdict was handed down.

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