Islamabad, June 20 The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) senior leaders picked Minister for Textiles Makhdoom Shahabuddin for the office of the prime minister following the ouster of Yousuf Raza Gilani, media reports said Wednesday.
Sources told Geo News that the decision was taken at a meeting of senior leaders of the PPP held late Tuesday under the chairmanship of President Asif Ali Zardari.
The meeting also decided that a session of the National Assembly would be summoned Thursday to elect the leader of the house.
Shahabuddin is a member of the National Assembly from Rahim Yar Khan district in Punjab province.
However, Gilani expressed reservations over the name of Shahabuddin during the meeting of coalition partners, who entrusted Zardari to nominate the new prime minister.
Media reports said there were two strong contenders for the post of prime minister — Minister for Water and Power Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar and Shahabuddin. Mukhtar was formerly the defence minister.
The name of Zardari’s sister Faryal Talpur was also mentioned at the PPP meeting held Tuesday night.
Dawn News said Zardari recommended the names of Mukhtar, Shahabuddin, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Religious Affairs Minister Khursheed Shah for the post.
However, the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-e-Azam (PML-Q) had reservations on nominating Mukhtar.
The Supreme Court Tuesday ruled that Gilani stood disqualified as prime minister as well as member of parliament since the apex court’s April 26 verdict holding him in contempt of court for refusing to write to the Swiss authorities to reopen corruption cases against Zardari.
A three-member bench led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry heard a set of constitutional petitions challenging National Assembly Speaker Fehmida Mirza’s ruling that despite conviction for contempt of court Gilani could continue as the prime minister.
A seven-member bench of the apex court had convicted Gilani April 26 of contempt of court. The court, however, sentenced him only “until the rising of the court”, or till the time the judges left the court chamber. That was only for about 30 seconds after the verdict was handed down.