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Zardari Changes Prime Minister Candidates After Warrant Issued; Viral Video Mocks Powerful in Pakistan

In a week that has seen rapid changes in Pakistan’s civilian government, it appears that President Asif Ali Zardari’s political party, the PPP, has had to change its choice to replace Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, who was ousted earlier in the week by the Supreme Court.

Yesterday, the PPP announced Makhdoom Shahabuddin as their choice for Prime Minister:

President Asif Ali Zardari nominated Shahabuddin to form a new cabinet after the Supreme Court dismissed Gilani for contempt on Tuesday.

A consensus choice and a loyalist, Shahabuddin was briefly finance minister during the 1993-1996 premiership of Benazir Bhutto, Zardari’s wife who was assassinated in 2007.

His nomination was announced after more than 24 hours of crisis talks and intense horse trading between Zardari and members of his fractious ruling coalition.

In brief remarks at the national assembly, Shahabuddin showcased his loyalty by thanking Zardari and extending greetings to members of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) on the birthday of his late wife.

“I am thankful from the bottom of my heart (to Zardari),” he told reporters.

“Today is a special day because it is Benazir Bhutto’s birthday and I send my congratulations on this birthday to all party workers,” he added.

That plan appears already to have come to a complete halt, as an arrest warrant was issued today for Shahbuddin:

A non-bailable arrest warrant was issued against Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Makhdoom Shahabuddin in the ephedrine quota case, DawnNews reported.

President Zardari had nominated Shahabuddin as a candidate for the new prime minister. He had also filed his nomination papers for the slot on Thursday.

The Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) issued warrants against Shahabuddin, Musa Gilani and one other person.

Earlier on June 7, Regional Director of the ANF Brig Fahim Ahmed Khan had told the Supreme Court that the ANF had widened its inquiry against Shahabuddin who he said had ordered the local conversion of ephedrine after Berlex Lab International and Danas Pharma (Pvt) Ltd failed to export asthma drugs to Afghanistan.

The ephedrine scam had come to light in April when the ANF informed a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, that the ephedrine quota worth Rs7 billion was given to two Multan-based companies on the pressure of an influential person.

Yes, the Gilani mentioned above is the son of the former Prime Minister. From Reuters: Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @WerlySportsLaw Absolutely agree. Though want it by natural pressure, not federal govt insertion into the issue in face of 1st Amendment
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JimWhiteGNV RT @VanessaBeeley: Rinse and repeat: 82 new US-trained Syrians prepare for fighting — RT Op-Edge https://t.co/bLREm1zfv4 @snarwani @navsteva
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bmaz @Prof_Holland @TAMULawSchool Yes, now send them to represent some indigent defendants, whether at trial or appellate level...or both!
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bmaz @WerlySportsLaw So, change the name and waive RGIII? Frankly, think Snyder too bullheaded and stupid to do either one.
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bmaz This is most common when county attys overcharge+overreach with sex crime defendants b/c they can. Usually cravenly works, sometimes not.
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bmaz @WALLACHLEGAL Agreed! All good anyway, and many would not know Clune's longer history (I may be getting old...).
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bmaz The Labrie/NH sex asslttrial produced a weird but not uncommon inconsistent verdict. Will be interesting to see how state ct judge sentences
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bmaz @WALLACHLEGAL And really, I have long known him from that and §1983 cases. It was a smaller group of us who did that at one time.
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bmaz @WALLACHLEGAL Hey, where did that other tweet go?!?! Anyway, just carping b/c Clune has done some great crim defense trial work
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bmaz @WALLACHLEGAL @RachelAxon Jeez, went through this yesterday - Clune far more than a Title IX+Winston accuser atty. Long time great litigator
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bmaz Texas, boy I don't know https://t.co/hqmv8s6XTk
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emptywheel @TimothyS Whatever the answer is it must be something extraordinary bc terrorterrorterror even if it makes more terrorterrorterror.
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