ISLAMABAD (AP) — A Pakistani judge has issued an arrest warrant for the ruling party's candidate for prime minister.
The candidate (Makhdoom Shahabuddin) is accused of illegally importing drugs. But the timing of the warrant is raising suspicions that it was politically motivated.
Pakistan's anti-drug force is run by the army, which has at times been allied with the judiciary against elected governments.
Pakistan's Supreme Court ousted Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani (gee-LAH'-nee) two days ago after Gilani refused to initiate a corruption case against President Asif Ali Zardari (AH'-seef ah-LEE' zar-DAH'-ree).
A law ministry official says Zardari's nominee is alleged to have been involved in a scandal over the importation of a drug that can be used to make methamphetamine.
He has filed nomination papers ahead of a vote in parliament tomorrow, but two other members of the ruling Pakistan People's Party are already being discussed as replacement candidates.
The next prime minister will likely face the same order from the Supreme Court to investigate Zardari.
APPHOTO XMM103: ISLAMABAD: Makhdoom Shahabuddin, nominated prime minister by the ruling Pakistan People's party, waves after filing his candidacy paper at the Parliament, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Thursday, June 21, 2012. Pakistan's ruling party chose outgoing textiles minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin as its candidate for prime minister on Thursday, moving quickly to quell fears of a government showdown with the judiciary after the former premier was ousted by the Supreme Court for contempt of court, a presidential spokesman said. AP/PTI (AP6_21_2012_000127B) (21 Jun 2012)
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