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‘Zardari has three more PM candidates ready if Ashraf suffers same fate as Gilani’

Islamabad, July 13 (ANI): The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has decided against going for a caretaker set-up even if Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf is removed, just like his predecessor Yousuf Raza Gilani, by the Supreme Court under contempt charges. The President, however, claims to have more candidates lined up for the post in case of another ouster.

Sources in the PPP said President Asif Ali Zardari discussed the situation with the heads of allied parties after the Supreme Court gave the deadline of July 25 to Ashraf for writing a letter to Swiss authorities for reopening money laundering case against Zardari, reports The Dawn.

“The government will not go for announcing a caretaker set-up for the next general elections even if Prime Minister Ashraf is removed by the apex court,” a senior PPP leader said.

Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira ruled out the possibility of early elections and a caretaker set-up.

“We have so far not even thought about a caretaker set-up,” he said, adding that the PPP was holding consultations with heads of allied parties to chalk out a line of action in the wake of the Supreme Court decision.

Sources said the ruling coalition had decided that the government would not write a letter to the Swiss authorities even if Ashraf were removed from the premier’s post.

A source quoted President Zardari as saying: “I have three more candidates for prime minister’s office if Raja Pervez Ashraf is removed.”

According to sources, the coalition is hopeful that Prime Minister Ashraf will continue to serve as head of the government for another three or four months even if the contempt of court law which has been challenged in the Supreme Court is revoked.

The new contempt law that came into effect with the assent of the president exempts the prime minister and parliamentarians from proceedings on charges of contempt of court. (ANI)