Archive for the ‘Raja Pervez Ashraf’ Category

Friday, June 22, 3:15 AM


Pakistan’s ruling party picked a new prime minister Friday — former government power and water chief Raja Pervez Ashraf — but the choice seemed to guarantee continued political turmoil: Ashraf is associated with a persistent energy crisis that has crippled the country with blackouts, water shortages and steep increases in the price of fuel.

Ashraf, the energy minister from 2008 to 2011, also was mired in a corruption scandal involving private leases of energy production plants. He will replace the long-serving premier Yousuf Raza Gilani, who was dismissed by the Supreme Court on Tuesday for contempt of court.

President Asif Ali Zardari, who heads the Pakistan People’s Party, turned to Ashraf after the leading candidate for the job withdrew Thursday amid allegations of drug trafficking.

But even with the leadership vacuum filled, the nation is expected to remain beset by a power struggle among its major institutions — the courts, the military and the civilian leadership — that threatens to keep Pakistan in tumult for months to come, according to political observers.

The upheaval has complicated U.S. efforts to wind down the war in neighboring Afghanistan, contributing to Islamabad’s failure to come up with a compromise to again allow NATO supplies to pass through Pakistani territory. The routes, vital for U.S. withdrawal of a decade’s worth of materiel, have been closed for seven months.

Ashraf, 61, is expected to be a placeholder prime minister. The party also on Friday called for parliamentary elections to be held before the end of the year, rather than in March 2013 as scheduled.

The beleaguered PPP faces the likelihood of continuing, widespread violent and sometimes fatal protests against rolling power blackouts — some areas are without electricity for 23 hours a day — as summer temperatures now routinely top 110. The blackouts simultaneously cause water shortages because pumping stations shut down.

The latest leadership crisis unfolded Thursday after an anti-narcotics court issued an arrest warrant for the official whom Zardari wanted for the job — outgoing Textile Minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin, a stalwart of the ruling party.

The case, which also has implicated the recently ousted prime minister’s son, involves the illegal importation of tons of ephedrine, required to manufacture methamphetamine, in 2010, when Shahabuddin was health minister.

Both men have denied the accusations. As of Thursday evening, Shahabuddin had not been arrested.

Narcotics warrant

Babar Sattar, a lawyer and columnist, noted that the warrant followed a stray remark in open court this week by Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, who asked — after Shahabuddin emerged as a likely nominee — why he had not been arrested in connection with the ephedrine-import scandal.

“The timing of these things makes me cynical,” Sattar said. “You also get a sense that the judiciary is taking pleasure in embarrassing the ruling regime.”

As is usually the case in the murky machinations that govern Pakistani politics, the import of the narcotics warrant was unclear but widely debated. Some Pakistanis discerned mischief on the part of the military because the charges stemmed from an anti-drug agency headed by a general.



Raja Pervez Ashraf was born on December 26th, 1950 according to

December 26th, 1950

12 + 26 +1+9+5+0 = 53 = his life lesson = Debates.  Arguments.

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