Opposition fields Maulan Fazal-ur-Rehman for President

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News Analysis | 

The JUI-F chief has submitted his nomination papers as a candidate fielded by the PML-N, Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, Awami National Party, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and National Party. The Grand Opposition Alliance could not reach an agreement, over the joint candidate for the presidential election. The alliance of multiple opposition parties had announced to field a joint candidate, after apparently reaching a consensus over the name in Murree.

PPP has already announced that Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan is party’s candidate for the post of president of the country. The party’s senior leader Khursheed Shah even urged the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf legislators to support him [Aitzaz Ahsan] for the top slot. Earlier, the Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz had rejected the PPP’s nominee and its senior leader and former information minister Pervez Rashid on August 24 said that the party would support Aitzaz Ahsan, on a condition, if Ahsan visits PML-N Supreme leader Nawaz Sharif in Adiala jail to apologize for his insulting remark.

After the consensus on his name among the opposition parties except for PPP, it might not be difficult to pursue PPP to vote for him. But, for now, it seems, Asif Ali Zardari has some other ideas.

MMA has also objected to Ahsan’s nomination. PTI has nominated Dr. Arif Alvi for the post of president. National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser has called a joint sitting of parliament on September 4 for the election of new president. The term of the incumbent president Mamnoon Hussain would expire on September 4. The elections were supposed to be held before August 8, but, the parliament and four provincial assemblies were yet to start a new term, which delayed the Presidential election.

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The final list of the candidates after the scrutiny will be published on August 30. The Candidate can withdraw their nomination papers until Thursday, before the formal announcement on the same day. After PTI’s victory in July 25 elections, Opposition parties held three All Parties Conferences (APC’s) to nominate a joint candidate for the position of Prime Minister of Pakistan.

PPP has already announced that Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan is party’s candidate for the post of president of the country. The party’s senior leader Khursheed Shah even urged the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf legislators to support him [Aitzaz Ahsan] for the top slot.

However, a serious blow to the so-called grand opposition alliance came, when PPP withdrew its support for the PML-N’s president Shahbaz Sharif, who was considered a joint candidate for the elections of Prime Minister. Both the parties are yet to put the bitter past behind. And, despite meeting in Murree for the fourth APC, and yet again in the Parliament lodges on Sunday, hostility among the opposition ranks continues.

After, the decision to field Fazal for the top slot, Khursheed Shah’s remarks, where he asked PTI to support PPP in the elections makes sense. PPP had raised objections over Shahbaz Sharif, because of his controversial statements against the PPP leadership, in the past. Likewise, now, PML-N cannot digest the nomination of Aitzaz who made the unkind remarks against the Nawaz and his ailing wife Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, over their illness.

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Both PML-N and PPP had a cordial relationship with Maulana Fazal in the past, as he was part of the government in their regimes between 2008 and 2018. After the consensus on his name among the opposition parties except for PPP, it might not be difficult to pursue PPP to vote for him. But, for now, it seems, Asif Ali Zardari has some other ideas.

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