The election commission accepted on Wednesday the nomination papers of all three candidates contesting the presidential election.
There are three candidates in the race to become the president as the PTI has fielded Dr Arif Alvi while the PPP’s Aitzaz Ahsan and Maulana Fazlur Rehman of the MMA have filed their nomination papers.
The scrutiny of the candidates’ nomination papers took place on Wednesday. All three were asked to appear before the Election Commission by 10am and were told to come bearing their CNICs and assembly cards.
The chief election commissioner will serve as the returning officer during the presidential election.
“The chief election commissioner has accepted my papers as the returning officer,” Ahsan told the media in Islamabad on Wednesday. “I am thankful to Asif Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto and all the PPP leaders who have accompanied me. We will participate in the presidential elections.”
According to the PPP leader, his chances of obtaining votes through secret ballot are high. “The brothers, sisters, daughters and friends of the PTI will vote for me,” he said. “A number of PTI lawmakers are upset with their party’s decisions.”
He also criticised the PML-N. “The PML-N demands that I should go to Adiala Jail and apologise,” said Ahsan. “My party has decided not to fulfil the demand. Their demand is feudal in nature.”
The PPP’s bid to convince other parties to support Ahsan did not bear fruit. Despite this, Ahsan submitted his nomination papers before the Islamabad High Court.
On the other hand, Rehman of the MMA enjoys the backing of the PML-N, ANP, MMA and PkMAP. “I am 100% confident that the PPP will agree to field me as the joint opposition candidate,” Rehman had said. He also requested PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari to withdraw Ahsan in his favour.
The PTI’s Dr Alvi is positive about his victory with a majority. Party leader Jahangir Khan Tareen has also cut short his visit to the UK on Dr Alvi’s request and returned to Pakistan.
The election will be held on September 4. The last day to file nomination papers was August 27.
How the election works
So far, the government has a combined 361 votes while the joint opposition has 326 votes. This includes votes from independent candidates aligned with the parties and political alliances.
The PTI has the support of the MQM, BAP, BNP-Mengal, GDA, PML-Q, Awami Muslim League and Jamhoori Watan Party. The opposition comprises the PML-N, PPP, MMA and ANP.
In the National Assembly, the PTI-led government has 179 votes with the help of independent candidates. The joint opposition has 151 votes. In the Senate, the joint opposition has 66 votes to the government’s 36.
Each provincial assembly has a different number of seats, so to ensure equal representation in the election votes from each province are counted differently.
In Punjab, 5.44 votes are counted as a single vote. According to this, the government has 34 votes and opposition has 31.
In the Sindh Assembly, 2.43 votes are counted as one, so the opposition has 40 votes while the PTI-led government has 25.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 1.7 votes are counted as one so the opposition has 19 and the government has 46.
In the Balochistan Assembly, each vote is counted as one, so the government has 41 votes, while the opposition has 19.