In just a few weeks time, Pakistan will have a new president replacing President Asif Ali Zardari — the man who has been the subject of so much controversy and angst. We must hope the new president is someone who can, to a greater extent, help unify the nation and set it along a path which can serve its people well. While it is true that after the Eighteenth Constitutional Amendment, passed by the PPP government, the president of the country has no real powers at all, the post remains an important one in the sense of its symbolism and the role the president should be playing in uniting what is often a divided federation.
The candidates for the presidential slot have been duly announced. The date has been moved to July 30 from August 6. This was done by the Supreme Court at the request of the Election Commission. The PML-N has also announced its candidate for the post. Former Sindh governor Mamnoon Hussain has been named, with other front runners moving aside following this decision. Hussain is almost certain to win the top slot given the way voting is likely to pan out in the various chambers making up the electoral college; the Senate, the National Assembly and the four provincial assemblies. He will, however, be faced by a man who presents a powerful challenge, at least, in terms of political standing.
The PPP has put forward Raza Rabbani as its candidate — a man most would agree is ideally chosen for the slot in terms of reputation and career. PPP allies have agreed to support him. But sadly, Rabbani’s name has been put up at a time when he has almost no chances of winning.
The race then will not be a very close one. It would appear that Mamnoon Hussain is almost certain to be our next president, and we will need to see how the PML-N loyalist and textile tycoon acts as the head of state.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2013.
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