Presidential election …Achakzai seeks delay in letter to ECP Pakistan Muslim League-N MQM-P endorsed PPP Asif Ali Zardari’s nomination for the presidency.

Stage set for presidential election as Achakzai seeks delay in letter to ECP

  • SIC’s nominee says president’s election without reserve seats would violate Constitution
  • Says reserve seats issue is sub judice in PHC, hoping for a fair decision from court

ISLAMABAD   (   Web News )

The 14th President of Pakistan will be elected on (tomorrow) with former president Asif Ali Zardari and Mahmood Khan Achakzai in the running.

On the other hand, Achakzai, chief of Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) and presidential candidate for the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), has, however, penned a letter to the Election Commission, calling for the postponement of the presidential election.

The development comes a day after the ruling coalition including the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) endorsed the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari’s nomination for the presidency.

Asif Ali Zardari, a joint candidate of Pakistan People’s Party, PML-N and other coalition parties is contesting the presidential election against Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PKMAP) chief Mahmood Achakzai, the candidate of the Sunni Ittehad Council.

Reportedly, Asif Ali Zardari has submitted two nomination papers for the election, one in Islamabad and the other one in Karachi.

Members of the four provincial assemblies, Senate, and National Assembly will cast their votes to elect the new president, after constitutional term of Dr Arif Alvi expired on March 9.

The electoral process follows the Electoral College system, requiring voters to present their National and Provincial Assembly, as well as Senate, identity cards. Votes will only be considered valid if marked with an approved marker.

During the polling, presiding officers will oversee the opening of ballot boxes in the presence of candidates or their representatives.

They will scrutinize the ballot papers, reject any invalid votes, and tally the valid ones, sealing them in separate bags.

Subsequently, the Presiding Officer will record the results on Form 5 and submit them to the Returning Officer, who will then transmit them to the Chief Election Commissioner for official declaration.

Achakzai’s letter to ECP

In the letter addressed to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday, Achakzai highlighted the issue of numerous vacant reserve seats in both national and provincial assemblies. He argued that proceeding with the election without filling these seats would violate the law and the Constitution.

“The election should be postponed until the electoral college is completed,” Achakzai stated firmly in his letter to the ECP.

Furthermore, Achakzai revealed that the SIC has submitted an application to the Peshawar High Court regarding the matter of reserve seats. He expressed hopes for a fair decision from the court on this issue.

According to the ECP schedule, polling for the presidential election will be held on Saturday from 10am to 4pm. Incumbent President Dr Arif Alvi is already on an extended tenure after completing his five-year term on Sept 9 last year.

Article 44(1) of the Constitution says that the president will hold office for a term of five years from the day he assumes charge, but he continues to hold the office until a successor is chosen.

Alvi is the country’s fourth democratically elected president to complete the five-year term.

The three presidents before Dr Alvi who completed their full terms were Chaudhary Fazal Elahi (fifth president, from 1973 to 1978), Asif Ali Zardari (11th, from 2008 to 2013), and Mamnoon Hussain (12th, from 2013 to 2018).

Therefore, Dr Alvi is the third consecutive president to have a full term and the first one to have an extended term due to an incomplete electoral college, which comprises the National Assembly, Senate and the four provincial assemblies.