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Judge Said To Issue Warrant For Pakistani PM-Designate

Pakistani media reports say judges have issued an arrest warrant for President Asif Ali Zardari's candidate to be the country's new prime minister.

News of the non-bailable arrest warrant for Makhdoom Shahabuddin came hours after Shahabuddin was nominated for the premiership.

The warrant reportedly is linked to imports of an illegal drug while Shahabuddin was health minister.

It was not immediately clear whether the warrant would scuttle Shahabuddin's nomination, which was thought likely to come up for a vote as soon as June 22.

Zardari nominated Shahabuddin, who is currently the textiles minister, to replace Yousuf Raza Gilani. The Supreme Court on June 19 disqualified Gilani after he was convicted of contempt for refusing to reopen corruption cases against the president.

Parliament is due to vote on a new prime minister at the end of this week.

The leadership uncertainty comes at a time when Pakistan is facing massive economic problems and a widespread militancy.

Based on reporting by BBC, Reuters, and