SC advances presidential election date to July 30

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hold presidential election on July 30, after the ECP left it to the SC to decide the date for holding election.

By Afzal Khan

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Published: Thu 25 Jul 2013, 8:38 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 3:50 PM

The election was originally scheduled to be held on August 6.

The apex court advanced the scheduled date on a plea by ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz filed by its chairman Raja Zafarul Haq. The petitioner contended that August 6 falls in the last 10 days of Ramadan when several lawmakers would be in the Holy City of Makkah. He believed that about 100 members would be affected and unable to vote.

During the hearing, the Attorney General of Pakistan when asked by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry for his opinion on the issue, said that there was no constitutional bar on holding presidential election on July 30 and Public Representation Act was no obstruction in the way of presidential election. The ECP on its part said it would have no objection if the court advanced the date to July 30.

Meanwhile, three major political parties filed nomination papers for the presidential election. The PML-N fielded former Sindh governor and old party loyalist Syed Mamnoon Hussain, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Raza Rabbani and the Pakistan Tehereek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Justice (retd) Wajeehuddin. Over a dozen other lesser known candidates also filed papers without any proposer and second or that would oust them from the contest at the time of scrutiny.

In Pakistan, the president is not elected by popular vote, but by voting in the Senate, National Assembly and the assemblies of the four provinces.

Political analyst Hasan Askari Rizvi said Mamnoon was set to win the election because the ruling party has a majority in the National Assembly and the assembly of Pakistan’s largest province, Punjab.

“It’s just a numbers game,” Rizvi said. “Anyone who gets the support of the ruling party can become the president.” Flanked by top leaders from the ruling party, Mamnoon submitted his nomination papers to the Islamabad High Court on Wednesday.

“The president is meant to be nonpartisan, the whole country’s president,” Hussain told reporters outside the Islamabad High Court “I will be the president for everybody,” said Mamnoon. “I will resign from my party office if I become president.”

“The president is meant to be nonpartisan, the whole country’s president,” Mamnoon told reporters outside the Islamabad High Court

Eminent jurist Aitzaz Ahsan, Rabbani’s proposer, made a strong plea for adopting Rabbani as a consensus candidate and said he has an unblemished political career who authored the 18th Amendment and managed to ensure support of all he political parties. During his term, Zardari, faced constant criticism for heading the PPP at the same time as he was president. He was eventually forced by a court to relinquish his party leadership position.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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