ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) said on Monday that it has completed preparations for presidential elections to be conducted in four provinces on Tuesday.
Sardar Raza Khan, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), will serve as the returning officer while chief justices of all four high courts will act as the presiding officers during the polls.
Polling stations have been set up in four provincial assemblies, including the national assembly. Ballot boxes have been moved to the poll booths with the ECP issuing a code of conduct for the same.
The CEC, on Monday, directed the presiding officers to ensure the secrecy of the ballot with members of the national assembly (MNA), provincial assemblies or senate being barred “from taking any electronic devices inside the premises”.
In the running for the president’s office is Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf’s (PTI) candidate Dr Arif Alvi who will compete against Pakistan Peoples Party’s Aitzaz Ahsan and Jamiat-e-Ulema (F) chief Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman for the top office.
Political pundits predicted Dr Alvi would win the polls after the opposition failed to reach a consensus, fielding two candidates instead of one.
A dentist by profession, Alvi is one of the founding members of the PTI and was nominated by the party as its candidate on August 18. During the general elections of 1997 and 2002, Alvi was appointed as the secretary general of the party. He won again in the 2013 general elections after contesting from Karachi’s NA-250 constituency and was later as the president of PTI’s Sindh wing. This year, too, Alvi was elected from Karachi’s NA- 247.
After vigorously protesting Rehman’s nomination, the PPP on August 19 fielded Ahsan as its candidate. Ahsan submitted his nomination papers to the Islamabad High Court on August 26. A renowned lawyer and politician, he has been elected to the senate three times. The 72-year-old’s political journey began in the 1970s when he first joined the party. In November 2007, after General (retd) Pervaiz Musharraf deposed the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Chaudhry Iftikhar, Ahsan was a frontman in the agitation leading to the restoration of the CJP.
On August 27, the grand opposition alliance fielded Rehman as its candidate. Speaking to the media on Sunday, the 76-year-old firebrand scholar thanked the opposition parties for their vote of support.
More than 700 votes will be cast during the presidential elections, with 342 of them slotted for ministers of the national assembly and 104 for senators. Each provincial assembly has also been allocated 65 votes.