Achakzai applauds integrity in election process

Says some people who were not part of the SIC also voted for him

Our Correspondent March 09, 2024


Mahmood Khan Achakzai, the presidential candidate backed by the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), expressed his gratitude to all the lawmakers who voted for him in Saturday’s presidential election, noting that for the first time in Pakistan’s history, votes were not bought or sold.

“The election took place in a wonderful environment. I am thankful to the PTI for supporting my candidacy,” Achakzai said while speaking to journalists outside the Parliament House after the elections.

Candidates supported by the PTI initially contested the February 8 general elections as independents after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) deprived the former ruling party of its election symbol.

Subsequently, they joined the relatively lesser-known SIC, whose parliamentary party exclusively consists of PTI members. The SIC then endorsed Achakzai, the chief of the PkMAP party, for the position of president.

"In this election, something unique happened. For the first time, votes were neither bought nor sold. Previously, members were considered commodities, but now there's a change, which is a positive development," he added.

Lawmakers from the upper and lower houses of parliament, as well as the provincial legislatures, elected the ruling parties’ joint candidate, Asif Ali Zardari, as the 14th president of the country. Zardari received 255 votes, while the runner-up candidate, Achakzai, received 119 votes.

Read also: Asif Ali Zardari secures second term as President of Pakistan

Achakzai said some people believe everything in Pakistan can be bought and sold, but there are also those who oppose this notion. “I am grateful to be among those who oppose it."

He mentioned that in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, all 90 members of Imran Khan's party voted for him. “In Punjab, too, all the party members voted for me. I received more votes in the National Assembly and Senate than the total number of SIC members. I am also thankful to all of them.”

The politician revealed that some lawmakers told him they wanted to vote for him but could not do so due to instructions from their party leadership.

“A young lawmaker voted for me despite being warned by one of his colleagues that there are cameras [in the polling area] and he might be held accountable for voting against his party line,” he said. “The young man replied to his colleague that he had cast his vote and was ready to face the consequences.”

The opposition candidate stated that in the National Assembly and the Senate, people who were not members of the SIC also voted for him. “Someone was ill in Akhtar Mengal’s family, but he also stayed here and cast his vote,” he said.


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