Asif Zardari elected as 14th President of Pakistan

  • ECP notifies Zardari’s victory who received 411 votes against Achakzai’s 181
  • Lawmakers from JUI-F, GDA and JI boycott presidential election

ISLAMABAD: Asif Ali Zardari, the co-chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and candidate of the coalition parties, was elected as the 14th President of Pakistan on Saturday, grabbing the coveted post for the second time.

Following the presidential election, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) notified victory of Asif Ali Zardari, saying he received 411 votes in the presidential election against his opponent PkMAP Chairman Mehmood Khan Achakzai, who managed to get only 181 votes.

In a statement issued by the electoral watchdog, the ECP said presidential polls were carried out in Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Peshawar and Islamabad.

It added that the results prepared by the presiding officers from all five locations were received at the ECP secretariat.

“The total number of seats in the electoral college was 1,185 out of which 92 were vacant […],” the ECP said. “The remaining 1,093 voters were to exercise their right to vote.”

The election commission highlighted that 1,044 votes were cast of which nine were declared invalid. “Thus, the total number of valid votes cast is 1,035.”

It concluded that the official Result of Count on Form-VII shall be prepared and forwarded to the federal government tomorrow after receipt of the original record from the presiding officers.

Zardari, who was the joint candidate of the PPP, PML-N, MQM-P and other coalition parties, defeated Sunni Ittehad Council-backed Mahmood Khan Achakzai in the presidential race.

It would be his second stint as president of the country as he also remained in the office during 2008 to 2013. He will replace outgoing President Dr Arif Alvi.

The JUI-F, GDA and JI lawmakers abstained from participating in the process to elect next president of the country.

Of the 398 votes cast in the National Assembly and Senate, Asif Zardari received 255 votes, while Achakzai got 119.

In Punjab Assembly, Zardari obtained 246 votes, whereas Achakzai received 100 votes.

In 118-member Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, Achakzai led the race with 91 votes, whereas Zardari received 17 votes; one vote was rejected.

In 62-member Balochistan Assembly, Asif Ali Zardari bagged 47 votes while SIC-backed Achakzai received not a single vote.

In Sindh Assembly, Zardari bagged 151 votes while the SIC candidate received only nine votes.

The voting concluded at 4pm and counting began. The voting was held from 10am to 4pm without break.

The first vote for the presidential election was cast by Amer Talal and Abdul Aleem Khan cast the second vote. Two polling booths and two counters were set up in the National Assembly for the voting process.

Sherry Rehman acted as polling agent for Asif Ali Zardari while Senator Sardar Shafique was the polling agent for Achakzai. Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Aamer Farooq acted as presiding officer for the election.

‘We reject ‘so-called presidential election’

Following the election, leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Omar Ayub said that Asif Ali Zardari’s election should be declared null and void

“We reject the so-called presidential election,” PTI leader said. “Asif Ali Zardari has been an aged and ailing person, a mentally fit person should be elected for this office,” Omar Ayub said.

Ayub demanded an immediate release of the PTI’s founder and Bushra Bibi from jail. “Our assembly seats were snatched in a daylight robbery,” he claimed.

“Issuing pro-state or anti-state certificates is not in the hand of the Speaker or any other person. The authority of issuing this certificate is mandated by people,” PTI leader said while criticizing a statement of Ayaz Sadiq, the Speaker of the National Assembly.

He alleged that Form 47 of election results had been changed. “We challenge them to hold elections on these constituencies again. It will sift the true from the false,” Ayub claimed.

Voting in presidential election

Voting for the election of the country’s 14th president was held in the National Assembly (NA), the Senate and all four provincial assemblies on Saturday.

According to the Second Schedule, the candidate receiving the highest number of votes would be declared the winner by the chief election commissioner (CEC) while the federal government will later notify the result.

Article 41(4) of the constitution says that “election to the office of president shall be held not earlier than sixty days and not later than thirty days before the expiration of the term of the president in office: Provided that, if the election cannot be held within the period aforesaid because the National Assembly is dissolved, it shall be held within thirty days of the general election to the Assembly”.

Since the general elections were held on February 8, the presidential election must be held by March 9, just two days before the retirement of half of the 100-member Senate.

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.

All MNAs, senators and MPAs have been asked to bring their computerized national identity cards (CNICs) with them.

In its reply to SIC candidate Mahmood Khan Achakzai’s letter on Friday in which he had requested the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to postpone the presidential election, the ECP had said that the election would be held as per schedule.

Achakzai, in his letter, had argued that since the electoral college was incomplete, therefore the election be postponed.

 

JUI-F boycotts presidential election

The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) boycotted the presidential election advised its members of the electoral college not to cast their votes on Saturday.

The JUI had also not participated in the elections of Prime Ministership, Speakership and Deputy Speakership and now, it has announced a boycott of the presidential election too.

JUI members from Senate, National Assembly, Balochistan Assembly, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly will remain absent to avoid be a part of the polling process of presidential election today.

JUI chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has said that they will not engage in any electoral process until they get their mandate.

GDA also boycotts presidential election

After Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) also announced the boycott of today’s (Saturday) presidential election.

Addressing a press conference in Karachi, GDA leader Pir Sadaruddin Shah Rashdi also announced support for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in protest against what he called rigging in the elections.

Earlier, a delegation of Pakistan People’s Party led by Yousuf Raza Gilani met Maulana Fazlur Rehman and requested him for cooperation in the presidential election. However, Fazlur Rehman informed the PPP that his party would not vote for any candidate in the presidential election.

Maulana Fazlur Rahman, while talking to the delegation, further said that it is my party’s decision that we will not vote for anyone in the presidential election and I am bound by the party’s decision.

Saleem Jadoon
Saleem Jadoon
News Editor at Pakistan Today

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