ISLAMABAD : Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday scrutinised and approved the nomination papers of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Dr Arif Alvi, Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Aitzaz Ahsan for the presidential election and PML-N’s candidate Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
Chief Election Commissioner Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan scrutinised the nomination papers as Ahsan, Alvi and Fazlur Rehman appeared before the commission.
The opposition remains divided over fielding a consensus candidate as PPP has decided that it would not withdraw its presidential candidate Ahsan.
Presidential candidates were advised to appear along with their proposer and seconder before the commission in Islamabad.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Aitzaz Ahsan on Wednesday hoped Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman will withdraw from the presidential race in his favour.
“Maulana Fazl is a friend and I respect him,” the PPP leader said while speaking to the media outside the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in Islamabad after his nomination papers were approved for the presidential election.
“I hope the JUI-F chief will withdraw from the race and support me for the office of president,” he added.
The PPP presidential candidate further said, “I hope all parties will vote for me as this is a vote of conscience since the presidential election is held through a secret ballot.”
“Article 63-A of the Constitution states that MPAs and MNAs of a specific party have to vote for their party candidate,” he said.
Stating that this a time for ‘justice’, Ahsan added, “Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has to do justice between candidates.”
Responding to a question regarding who is likely to win the presidential election, the PPP leader said, “Voters have to decide this and I hope some PTI leaders will also vote for me.”
PTI’s Dr Arif Alvi, Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Aitzaz Ahsan and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman had filed their nomination papers for the presidential polls on Monday.
Dr. Arif Alvi submitted his nomination papers at Sindh High Court (SHC), whereas, following the row between PPP and PML-N, Aitzaz Ahsan submitted his nomination papers at Islamabad High Court (IHC) as PPP-backed candidate. The grand alliance of opposition parties, excluding PPP, fielded Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who also submitted his papers at IHC.
The opposition led by Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) remained divided over PPP’s decision to nominate Ahsan for president causing split in the strength of the combined opposition.
With a divided opposition, which is otherwise formidable in numbers, the Presidential Election on September 04, will prove a cakewalk for the PTI candidate, Dr. Arif Alvi, as the opposition votes will be divided between two candidates, PPP’s Aitzaz Ahsan and JUI-F chief Fazlur Rahman.