The senior party in Pakistan’s ruling coalition inaugurated a push Friday to elect its leader, Asif Ali Zardari, as the country’s next president.
A spokeswoman for the Pakistan People’s Party, Sherry Rehman, said the party’s decision to back Zardari’s candidacy was unanimous. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s former military leader who became a civilian president late last year, resigned Monday rather than face impeachment.
Zardari, who took over the party after his wife Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in December, is a divisive figure in Pakistan. While Bhutto’s death wins him some sympathy, he also is burdened by allegations of large-scale corruption that clung to him after his tenure in his wife’s Cabinet in the 1990s.
U.S. drug czar appeals for action
The U.S. drug czar appealed to Venezuela’s government on Friday to take action against the flourishing flow of cocaine being smuggled through the country.
White House drug czar John Walters told the Associated Press that Venezuela has shown no willingness to cooperate with U.S. officials against drugs.
The flow of Colombian cocaine through Venezuela has quadrupled since 2004, reaching an estimated 282 tons last year, he said.