Updated March 9th, 2024 at 09:54 IST

Asif Ali Zardari vs Mehmood Khan Achakzai: Who Will Be The Next President of Pakistan?

PTI said that it is backing Pashtun nationalist leader from Bal­o­chistan Mehmood Khan Achakzai to contest the March 9 poll against PPP’s Asif Ali Zardari.

Reported by: Bhagyasree Sengupta
Pakistani Presidential hopeful Mehmood Khan Achakzai and former President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari | Image:X - @MKAchakzaiPKMA / AP
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Islamabad –  As Pakistan gears up to witness the presidential election, Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf said that it is backing Pashtun nationalist leader from Bal­o­chistan Mehmood Khan Achakzai to contest the March 9 poll against PPP’s Asif Ali Zardari. The party submitted Achakzai's nomination papers on Saturday, Dawn reported. As per the reports, three other citizens have also filed nomination papers with the presiding officer, Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Aamer Farooq, through their respective representatives. While Zardari's papers were filed in court by Advocate Farooq H. Naek, PTI’s Sardar Latif Khosa submitted the papers for Achakzai. The Balochistan leader is the president of the Pakhtoonkhwa Mili Awami Party (PkMAP).

Meanwhile, the Former President of Pakistan, Zardari, is backed by the PML-N-led eight-party coalition, an understanding which was reached after the coalition was formed keeping the February 8 polls in mind. The filing of the nomination makes Achakzai the candidate of the PTI-Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) alliance. According to the Pakistani news outlet, PTI’s Asad Qaiser and Ali Mohammad Khan are the proposer and seconder of Achakzai. Zardari's nomination on the other hand was proposed by his son Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and is seconded by Advocate Naek. The other three candidates who submitted their nomination papers are – Asghar Ali Mubarak, Abdul Qadoos and Waheed Ahmed Kamal, Dawn reported. According to the Constitution of Pakistan, any Muslim citizen of Pakistan who has attained the age of 45 and is eligible to become a Member of the National Assembly can contest the election for the office of the president. However, their nominations will be rejected since they were neither proposed nor seconded by members of any of the country’s six legislatures.

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JUI-F leader to back Achakzai

Days after the nomination papers were filed, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) emir Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that he wants to vote for the PTI-backed candidate. However, his party's decision on the matter is still not clear. Expressing his discontent with the current political climate, Rehman ruled out the possibility of joining hands with the ruling coalition, insisting that the “environment” of the alliance is “still not there yet”. "We will be where the opposition benches are. We will go to parliament and protest," the JUI-F leader averred. "We want to have an environment where differences could be removed," he added.

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Meanwhile, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) scheduled the deadline to submit the nomination papers for the presidential elections by March 2 and the scrutiny of the nomination papers will be complete by March 4, Geo News reported. Candidates who wish to withdraw their nomination paper can do so by March 5. The final list of candidates will be eventually published on March 6 and the elections will be held on March 9. 

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Published March 4th, 2024 at 10:32 IST