Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) Dr Arif Alvi, Pakistan Peoples Party's (PPP) Aitzaz Ahsan and Emir Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Monday submitted their nomination papers for the presidential election. After failure of the 11-party grand opposition alliance to name a joint candidate for the coveted slot, the PPP fielded its own candidate while other opposition parties decided to support Fazlur Rehman in the election.
The presidential election is scheduled to be held on September 4 through a secret ballot. The five-year term of incumbent President Mamnoon Hussain is set to expire on September 9. Fazlur Rehman and Aitzaz Ahsan of the opposition parties' nominees will face Dr Arif Alvi in the presidential race. The split in the opposition alliance will benefit the PTI's candidate who has already claimed to win the election easily.
After submitting his nomination papers for the election, Alvi said that he would win the election with a clear majority. He said that ideally all other candidates should have withdrawn in favour of the PTI nominee, so that the federation's representative can attain a significant majority.
Alvi said if he was elected to the office, he would use all available resources within the constitutional parameters to raise various issues of public interest. Fazlur Rehman, who has been fielded by the PML-N, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), Awami National Party, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and National Party, submitted his nomination papers in the Islamabad High Court through his counsel. PML-N leader Ameer Muqam is Fazl's covering candidate.
Representatives of opposition alliance met in Murree on Saturday to reach a consensus on a joint candidate for the president. However, the PPP rejected the PML-N's objections to Aitzaz Ahsan and decided to stick to its choice of candidate for the post.
Senior PPP leaders, including Sherry Rehman, Naveed Qamar, Qamar Zaman Kaira and Khursheed Shah, accompanied Ahsan to the Islamabad High Court to submit his nomination papers. Talking to media persons, Ahsan said that the only objection raised against his candidature had been that the PPP did not consult other opposition parties before nominating him, a claim he termed fake one.
The PPP nominee said that his name was agreed upon at an internal party meeting, but before it could be proposed to the alliance, the nomination started doing rounds on media as the party's unilateral choice. Talking to the media persons, Ahsan Iqbal said that it was decided during Murree meeting of opposition parties over the weekend that a consensus candidate would be nominated for the presidential polls.
All parties had repeatedly requested the PPP leadership to suggest a panel of three names, one of whom would be nominated by the alliance through consensus, he said, adding that the PPP leadership refused to nominate anyone else except Ahsan. Ahsan Iqbal said that they would appeal to the PPP to review its decision and support Fazlur Rehman for the cause of keeping the opposition vote united.
The chief election commissioner will conduct scrutiny of the nomination papers on Wednesday in Islamabad at 10:00am. The candidates will have time until Thursday, August 30, to withdraw their nomination papers, after which the final list will be made public on the same day. The president is elected by an electoral college comprising members of the Senate, National Assembly, and the four provincial assemblies.