ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday (today) will elect the country’s 12th president as incumbent President Asif Ali Zardari completes his five-year term in September.
The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has fielded senior party leader Mamnoon Hussain, while former cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), has nominated former judge Justice (retd) Wajihuddin Ahmad.
There will be a one-on-one contest as the major opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has boycotted the presidential election.
The electoral college of the presidential election consists of Senate‚ National Assembly and the four provincial assemblies.
Voting will be held through secret ballot and will begin simultaneously at the Parliament House and the four provincial assemblies at 10:00 am and continue till 3:00 pm.
The Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court will preside over the polling process at the parliament house while the chief justices of the four provinces will preside over the process in the provincial assemblies.
Chief Election Commissioner Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim has asked all MPs to ensure secrecy while casting votes.
An Election Commission spokesman said the legislators will not be allowed to carry mobile phones or any other electronic gadget during the voting process.
According to Article 41(3) of the Constitution, the president will be chosen for five years by the electoral college of 706 lawmakers, including 104 senators and 342 members of the National Assembly and 260 of the provincial assemblies. By-elections for about 50 seats of national and provincial assemblies are scheduled for August 22.
Twenty-three candidates had submitted their nomination papers from across the country for the presidential election, out of which only three were accepted. The nomination of the PPP’s Raza Rabbani was also rejected after he failed to appear before the ECP following the PPP’s announcement to boycott the election.
Moreover, Iqbal Zafar Jhagra of the PML-N, who was a covering candidate for Hussain, withdrew his nomination following the acceptance of the candidacy of his party’s primary nominee.
The election was originally scheduled for Aug 6 but the PML-N challenged it in the Supreme Court on the grounds that a large number of members of the national and provincial assemblies and Senate would find it difficult to cast their vote because some of them would be in Saudi Arabia to perform Umra and a number of others would be observing Aitekaf around that time.
The court in its first hearing on the petition ordered the ECP to change the date and hold it on July 30.