Parliamentarians of the ruling Pakistan People's Party met on Wednesday night to choose a new prime minister, with Makhdoom Shahabuddin, a former finance minister hailing from South Punjab, being the firm favourite. The central committee of the party has endorsed the candidature of Shahabuddin and allies have also been consulted, say party insiders.
Party allies rejected the candidature of Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar, who was minister for defence and then of power in the Gilani cabinet. However, the final decision rests with President Zardari who may opt for a third candidate say party officials. "We are still in the consulting state," confirmed Qamar Zaman Kaira, party spokesman and former information minister.
The larger issue, however, remains how the incoming prime minister will face the Supreme Court once being sworn in as chief executive. Bull’s eye
Link to chief justice's son's case
Leaders of the ruling PPP believe that the charge of corruption levelled against chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry's son has a link to the supreme court's decision to disqualify Gilani.
Arsalan Iftikhar, the son of the chief justice, has been accused of receiving Rs. 342 million from property tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain to influence cases in the apex court.
"Since the chief justice's son case surfaced, the case to disqualify the PM was suddenly taken up," senior PPP leader Usman Salim Malik said.