Ashraf, who is a senior leader of Pakistan People's Party from Rawalpindi district, was the Federal Minister for Water and Power of Pakistan in the Yousaf Raza Gillani-led cabinet.
The party's decision surfaced following the arrest warrant issued by a special anti-narcotics court against another expected nominee - Makhdoom Shahabuddin. A special anti-narcotics court on Thursday issued a non-bailable arrest warrant.
Shahabuddin, whom PPP earlier had nominated for the prime ministerial candidate, has been accused of involving in irregularities in the import of a large amount of the controlled drug Ephedrine during his tenure as Health Minister.
Pakistan Supreme Court recently has delivered a striking verdict. It has disqualified the former PM Yousuf Raza Gilani from office. Earlier, the court had convicted him for contempt on Apr 26 because he refused to ask Swiss authorities to reopen some corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
Citing the conviction, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said that Gilani has become disqualified from being a member of Parliament and he also ceased to be the prime minister of Pakistan with effect from the day that he was convicted.
Zardari has been asked to take the necessary steps for continuation of democracy in the country. Zardari is the chief of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) to which Gilani also belongs.