ISLAMABAD — A Pakistani judge issued an arrest warrant Thursday for the ruling party’s candidate for prime minister over allegations he illegally imported drugs. The warrant injects fresh uncertainty into efforts to replace the previous prime minister, who was ousted by the Supreme Court.
The warrant was announced after the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) nominated Makhdoom Shahabuddin, raising suspicion it was politically motivated and aimed at blocking the president’s choice to replace Yousuf Raza Gilani.
The anti-narcotics force is run by the army, another power center in Pakistan’s chaotic polity and one that at times has allied with the judiciary to target elected governments.
Mr. Gilani was dismissed Tuesday because he refused to initiate a corruption case against President Asif Ali Zardari, head of the PPP.
The order, which left the country without a Cabinet, was an escalation of a bruising power struggle between the government and activist judges, who critics say are unfairly prioritizing cases against the government.
Bali bomber gets 20-year prison term
JAKARTA — An Indonesian militant was convicted of helping build the massive car bomb used in the deadly 2002 Bali nightclub attacks and sentenced to 20 years in prison on Thursday, concluding the trial for the case’s last main defendant.
Known as “Demolition Man,” Umar Patek, 45, is a leading member of the al Qaeda-linked network Jemaah Islamiyah.
He was found guilty by the West Jakarta District Court of all charges of violating the country’s anti-terrorism law for his role in the Oct. 12, 2002, Bali resort island attacks, which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians and seven Americans.
The panel of five judges concluded Patek played an important role in building the explosives used in the Bali bombings. He also was sentenced for his involvement in Jakarta church attacks on Christmas Eve in 2000 that killed 19.
Communal violence kills 62, injures dozens
YANGON — The official death toll for this month’s communal clashes in western Myanmar rose to 62 on Thursday as Bangladesh’s security forces detained more Rohingya Muslims fleeing the violence and prepared to send them back.
Bangladesh has turned back more than 2,000 Rohingyas who have tried to enter the country after deadly violence between Rohingyas and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists erupted this month in neighboring Myanmar.
A total of 62 people were killed and dozens were wounded between June 8 and 19 in the sectarian unrest, Rakhine state spokesman Win Myaing said Thursday.
He said the last reported deaths occurred Tuesday in Yathetaung township, about 30 miles north of the Rakhine state capital, Sittwe, when clashes took 12 lives, including two Muslims. Security forces restored calm there on Wednesday, he said.
90 missing after boat capsizes
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA — A boat carrying about 200 people apparently attempting to reach Australia to seek asylum capsized south of Indonesia, and scores were feared drowned Thursday.
Indonesian and Australian navies launched efforts to rescue survivors.
An Australian navy patrol boat and three cargo ships had rescued 110 survivors by late Thursday and were taking them 120 miles south to the Australian territory of Christmas Island, Australian Maritime Safety Authority spokeswoman Jo Meehan said.
The boat capsized about halfway between Christmas Island and Indonesia.
It was not immediately clear where the passengers were from.
• From wire dispatches and staff reports