Race for the position of next President of Pakistan

The five-year term of incumbent President of Pakistan, Mamnoon Hussain, elected by the previous ruling party Pakistan Muslim League, Nawaz Sharif faction (PML-N), ends on 9th September 2018. He is eligible for re-election for the second term, but has declined to participate in the election. The election for new president has been scheduled for 4th September 2018. In Pakistan, president is elected by the Electoral College, which comprises of Senate, National assembly and the provincial assemblies. Each member cast his/her vote at the respective assemblies to elect the next present.

The three candidates, who have filed their nomination papers for the election of president, are Arif Alvi nominated by the ruling party, Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI). He has also won one seat in National Assembly. Aitzaz Ahsan is a former senator of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) from Punjab. Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman, chief of JUI (F) is the joint candidate of Muthaida Majlis e Amal (MMA) and PML(N). It is worth mentioning that Maulana was not elected by the voters from two of the constituencies of his own hometown Dera Ismail Khan. It appears that he is playing the final gamble to fetch the post of President of Pakistan to save his dignity, whatever is left.

PTI is not likely to face any competition in winning the presidential elections because the opposition that came in assemblies bragging to be a strong opposition and claiming to give a tough time to PTI and its allies is proving a house of cards. They could not remain on the same page regarding nomination of the joint candidate. The complacency of PTI is based on the fact that it already enjoys support of 346 members of the National Assembly, Provincial Assembles and Senate. PTI is also backed by MQM(P), GDA, PML(Q) and Baluchistan Qaumi Movement.

The irony of the fate is that the opposition failed in arriving at consensus on the name of the joint candidate. To disassociate PML(N) take refuge behind the allegation that Aitzaz Ahsan in one of his public speech during the election campaign used some derogatory remarks Kulsoom Nawaz, wife of convicted prime minister Nawaz Sharif. PPP seems adamant by not pulling out Aitzaz Ahsan to make Maulana a joint candidateof the opposition. If one peeps into the history, Maulana has enjoyed support of both PPP and PML(N), which kept him Chairman of Kashmir Committee.

The lust for power of Maulana is evident from his recent visit to Karachi and seek support from MQM(P). Both the parties extended their hospitality but very politely expressed their stance; they are already in alliance with PTI.

If one examines the prevailing scenario carefully the PTI confidence is not out of the place. Due to the opposition in complete disarray, soon PTI, allied parties and their vote bank throughout the country will be celebrating victory of presidential election. All the credit will not only go to all the alliance parties for supporting PTI, but historian will also write that opposition offered the position to PTI by not showing its unity.

Moral of the story is that Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman has enjoyed his days and time has come for him to announce retirement from politics and confine himself to religious preaching to develop interfaith harmony, if he can. He accused Pakistan Army for ‘engineered election’ and also made efforts to convince elected members not to take oath.


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