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Court issues arrest warrant for Pakistani prime minister nominee

Pakistan's ruling party chose its candidate to replace ousted Prime Minister Gilani, but the nominee was immediately hit with an arrest warrant linked to a drug importation scandal.

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Pakistan's ruling party chose Thursday its candidate to replace a prime minister ousted by the Supreme Court, but the nominee was immediately hit with an arrest warrant linked to a drug importation scandal in a sign that political turmoil may continue.

Makhdoom Shahabuddin, the outgoing textile minister who is considered a Pakistan People's Party loyalist, filed his nomination papers at parliament, ending speculation that the government may have been planning to defy Tuesday's court ruling against ouster Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for contempt of court.

The PPP's coalition has a majority in the house. But in an indication his nomination – and his premiership if elected by lawmakers – may not be smooth, an anti-narcotics court judge in the northern city of Rawalpindi issued an arrest warrant for Mr.  Shahabuddin, officials said, citing his alleged role in scandal involving the import of a drug that can be used to make methamphetamine.

The PPP said that a "covering candidate" for the party, lawmaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, also filed papers in the event that Shahabuddin was not elected. Horse trading as well as the arrest warrant could complicate the process.

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