In brief: Pakistani PM dismissed by courts


ISLAMABAD – Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was dismissed from office Tuesday by the courts, a victim of an intensifying conflict between the government and the judiciary that has plunged the country into fresh political turmoil.

The Supreme Court ruled that Gilani was disqualified because of his failure to open a long-dormant corruption case against his boss, the Pakistani president, prompting speculation about whether the coalition government led by the Pakistan People’s Party can limp on and who would replace Gilani.

Late Tuesday, the front-runner to replace him appeared to be Makhood Shahabuddin, a former health minister, with news reports saying that he had been chosen at an emergency meeting of the ruling coalition, although the final decision rests with President Asif Ali Zardari.

In any case, the show of power by the court – some described it as a “judicial coup” – could open the way for the powerful military to try to regain power.

Russian-run ship diverts from Syria

LONDON – A Russian-operated ship said to be carrying military helicopters to Syria appears to have turned back after its British insurer removed coverage for the vessel, U.K. officials said Tuesday.

Britain’s Foreign Office said the ship, the MV Alaed, changed course in Europe after news reports emerged about its alleged contents.

The ship has “turned back now apparently toward Russia,” Foreign Secretary William Hague told British lawmakers in Parliament. The vessel appeared to have been avoiding UK territorial waters and EU territorial waters.

The news came after the U.K.-based insurer Standard Club said it removed insurance coverage for the ship owner when it became aware it was carrying munitions, a clear breach of its rules.


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