6:31am

Thu June 21, 2012
The Two-Way

Arrest Warrant Issued For Pakistan's Prime Minister Nominee

"Turmoil" doesn't seem like a strong enough word anymore to describe what's happening in Pakistani politics.

Tuesday, Pakistan's highest court ruled that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was "disqualified" from remaining in office because he had refused to reopen a multi-million-dollar corruption probe aimed at President Asif Ali Zardari.

Today, the ruling Pakistan People's Party nominated a replacement — Makhdoom Shahabuddin — and the country's Anti-Narcotics Force almost immediately issued a warrant for his arrest. Pakistan's Dawn newspaper says Shahabuddin is at the center of an investigation into whether government officials were involved in a sandal "involving the import of a drug that can be used to make methamphetamine," as The Associated Press writes.

The wire service adds that:

"It's unclear whether the development could derail his nomination. Legal cases are routinely filed against Pakistani politicians by rivals as a means of weakening them. Often, the cases drag on for years, and the politician's career is unhindered. In Shahabuddin's case, any arrest warrant may automatically be dropped if he became prime minister because he has immunity from prosecution."

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