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Next PM’s name in 24 hrs: Report

Frontrunner: Makhdoom Shahabuddin from Pak Punjab seen as strongest contender for post

Written by Agencies | Islamabad | Published: June 20, 2012 1:39:12 am

In the aftermath of Yousuf Raza Gilani’s disqualification from the premier’s office by the Supreme Court on Tuesday,President Asif Ali Zardari disregarded the option of early general elections and said that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) will announce the name of the new prime minister within 24 hours,DawnNews reported.

The meeting of coalition partners of the government was held at the President’s House. President Zardari has recommended the names of Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar,Makhdoom Shahabuddin,Hina Rabbani Khar and Khursheed Shah for the premier’s office in front of the members of the meeting,sources said.

However,sources said that Shahabuddin was emerged the strongest contender for the post. Shahabuddin,who belongs to the Seraiki belt in the southern part of Punjab province,has held several portfolios in Gilani’s cabinet since 2008. PPP insiders told PTI that former Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar was also being considered seriously for the post of premier.

However,Shahabuddin is seen as the stronger candidate in view of the PPP’s plans to carve a new province out of the southern part of Punjab,sources said.

Besides the top leadership of the PML-Q,a key ally of the PPP, are opposed to Mukhtar due to political rivalries in Punjab,the sources added. During a revamp of Gilani’s cabinet in February last year,Shahabuddin was tipped to be sworn in as the Foreign Minister. However,the party changed its plans after Shah Mahmood Qureshi skipped the swearing-in ceremony on learning that he would not be reallocated the Foreign Ministry. Like Gilani,Shahabuddin belongs to a spiritual family that is the custodian of the mausoleum of the Sufi saint Shah Rukn-e-Alam.

The coalition leaders advised Zardari to avoid the conflict with the judiciary and accept the decision of the apex court. President Zardari told the participants of the meeting that after consultation with the coalition parties,the PPP has accepted the court’s verdict and the name of the new premier will be announced within 24 hours.

Zardari called off a planned visit to Russia to attend a summit after the Supreme Court ordered Pakistan into a political crisis. The President cancelled his visit to Russia in view of the “evolving situation”,state-run Radio Pakistan reported.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry disqualified Gilani in response to several petitions that had challenged the National Assembly Speaker’s decision not to disqualify the premier following his conviction of contempt.

Yasin Azad,president of the Supreme Court Bar Association,said Gilani had the right to file a “review petition” against the ruling within 30 days,but it would have little chance of success.

Excerpts from the order

As a Bench of 7 Hon’ble Judges vide judgment dated 26.04.2012 followed by the detailed reasons released on 08.05.2012 has found Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani guilty of contempt of Court under Article 204(2) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,1973 read with section 3 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance,2003 and sentenced him to undergo imprisonment till rising of the Court under section 5 of the said Ordinance,and since no appeal was filed against this judgment,the conviction has attained finality,therefore,Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani has become disqualified from being a Member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) in terms of Article 63(1)(g) of the Constitution on and from the date and time of pronouncement of the judgment of this Court dated 26.04.2012 with all consequences,i.e. he has also ceased to be the Prime Minister of Pakistan with effect from the said date and the office of the Prime

Minister shall be deemed to be vacant accordingly;

The Election Commission of Pakistan is required to issue notification of disqualification of Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani from being a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora w.e.f. 26.4.2012;

The President of Pakistan is required to take necessary steps under the Constitution to ensure continuation of the democratic process through parliamentary system of government in the country.

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