Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has no worries to get its presidential candidate Mamnoon Hussain elected despite the fact that 42 seats of the national and provincial assemblies are still vacant.
A senior PML-N official told The Express Tribune that they needed around 354 votes which they could manage comfortably. “Our candidate can win the election from our votes of the National, Punjab and Balochistan assemblies,” he added.
Sindh’s former Governor Mamnoon Hussain has filed his nomination papers as candidate of the PML-N. Other major contenders for the office include Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Senator Raza Rabbani and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Justice (retd) Wajihuddin Ahmed.
“Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) and National Party (NP) will also vote for our candidate,” the PML-N official said.
The PML-F has 10 seats in the Sindh Assembly and 5 seats in the National Assembly; whereas the JUI-F has 12 seats in the National Assembly, 15 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly, one in Punjab and 8 in Balochistan Assembly.
The official claimed that the PML-N candidate was going to get at least 45 votes in the Balochistan Assembly as all the parties there had decided to vote for Mamnoon.
According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), PML-N has 17 seats in Balochistan Assembly while its ally, Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) has 14 and the National Party (NP) has 10 seats. The PPP could not win a single seat in Balochistan in 2013 general elections.
The PML-N official further said that they had over 90% seats in the Punjab Assembly and could easily get more than 55 votes in the elections.
Looking at the party position as per the ECP data, the PML-N has 294 seats in Punjab assembly, 16 in Khyber-Pkhtunkwa, 6 in Sindh, 17 in Balochistan, 183 in National Assembly and 15 seats in the Senate.
The PPP has 6 seats in Punjab Assembly, 4 in the K-P, 90 in Sindh Assembly, 40 in the National Assembly and 39 seats in the Senate.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has 45 seats in K-P, 26 in Punjab, 4 in Sindh and 30 in the National Assembly.
On the other hand the PPP has the support of Awami National Party (ANP), which has one seat in National Assembly, four seats in K-P assembly, one seat in Balochistan Assembly and 12 seats in the Senate. Similarly, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), which has five seats in Senate, eight in Punjab Assembly and six in Balochistan Assembly is also likely to vote for the PPP candidate.
According to the Second Schedule of Constitution and Presidential Election Rules 1988, the parliament – comprising the National Assembly and Senate – and the four provincial assemblies (PAs) form the Electoral College for the presidential election.
The 446 members of parliament have one vote each while Balochistan Assembly’s total strength of 65 is considered as a baseline for the other three PAs.
Under this formula, the number of votes cast in a PA in favour of each candidate would be multiplied by 65 and divided by the total number of seats in the PA in which the votes were cast.
There are 42 seats of National and provincial assemblies which are still vacant and by-election on these seats is scheduled to take place on August 22. But the legal experts are of the view that absence of some legislators from the electoral exercise would not affect its validity or legitimacy of the election.
Second Schedule’s paragraph 19 says that the candidate who has obtained the largest number of votes in parliament and the four provincial assemblies (which is the Electoral College) shall be declared by the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) as elected.
The winner, even if there are only two candidates in the run, will have to get 51% votes (354) of the total membership (706) of the Electoral College. In case of more than two candidates in the race, anybody bagging the largest number of votes would carry the day even if the votes of the two or more defeated candidates put together were more than the winner.
It further says that the poll shall be held by secret ballot. The ballot paper will contain the names in alphabetical order of all the candidates who have not withdrawn, and a person voting shall vote by placing a mark against the name of the person he wanted to choose.
PTI candidate - Justice (retd) Wajihuddin Ahmed
Justice Wajihuddin Ahmed is a retired senior judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, a former member of Pakistan’s higher judiciary and the central figure of
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
Born on December 1, 1938 to the highly-reputed Chief Justice of West Pakistan High Court and Judge of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Justice Waheeduddin Ahmed in Karachi, Justice Ahmed was enrolled as an advocate of the Sindh High Court and served as a lecturer at the SM Law College for bachelor’s and master’s level classes. He was consecutively elected unopposed as president of Sindh High Court Bar Association in 1977 and 1978 and was also elected President of Karachi Bar Association in 1981.
He was appointed as the Advocate General Sindh on 19 November 1986 and elevated to the bench of the Sindh High Court as a judge in 1988. He became the Chief Justice of the Sindh High Court from November 5, 1997 to May 4, 1998 and moved to the Supreme Court in 1998.
He joined the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on January 10, 2011.
He resigned from the Supreme Court of Pakistan instead of taking oath of the office according to Pervez Musharraf’s Provisional Constitutional Order. He has also been nominated by the lawyers community as a presidential candidate against Pervez Musharraf in 2007 elections in Pakistan.
PML-N candidate - Mamnoon Hussain
Former Sindh governor Mamnoon Hussain, was officially named by the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) as its candidate for the presidential elections. Earlier prime minister’s foreign policy adviser Sartaj Aziz and Justice (Retd) Saeeduz Zaman Siddiqui were also on the list of the PML-N’s choices.
An alumnus of the Institute of Business Administration, from where he graduated in 1965, Hussain is an old loyalist of Nawaz Sharif and remained with the PML-N during the regime of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf. He served as the governor of Sindh from June to October 1999 and lost the post after the then army chief Gen Pervez Musharraf toppled the PML-N government in a military coup in Oct 1999.
Hussain belongs to Sindh and lives in Karachi, where he owns a textile business. He was born in Uttar Pradesh, India, in 1940. In 1993, he inched closer to the party leadership when Nawaz contested his own removal from the premier’s office by then president Ghulam Ishaq Khan.
According to analysts, picking Hussain as its presidential candidate would help the party counter the PPP’s claims that the PML-N was accommodating only Punjab-based politicians at offices in the centre. He contested the 2002 elections from NA-250 (Karachi) on PML-N ticket but had no luck. He is also a former president of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).
PPP candidate - Senator Raza Rabbani
A law graduate and practicing lawyer, Mian Raza Rabbani was born in Lahore on July 23, 1953. After his early education at Habib Public School Karachi, he studied at the University of Karachi from where he attained a bachelor’s degree in 1976, and got an LLB from the same university in 1981 while in jail.
Rabbani is a political activist who has advocated democracy and the provision of human rights. He was an active critic of the martial law regime, and was imprisoned under preventive detention laws for a total period of more than 30 months from 1977 to 1993 for his stance.
During his student life, Raza Rabbani pioneered the National Organisation of the Progressive Students and was its founder chairman from 1971 to 1974. He also served as the Secretary of the Pakistan Peoples Party District East Karachi, Deputy General Secretary of the PPP Karachi division, member of the Sindh Executive Committee PPP and President Peoples Lawyers Forum Sindh.
Raza Rabbani was elected member of the Senate in March, 1994 for a six-year term. He is a member of the Senate Standing Committees on Foreign Affairs, Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas and Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs.
Rabbani also chaired two important bi-cameral committees of parliament that were constituted for the passage of 18th, 19th and 20th Amendments. He also headed the parliamentary National Security Committee. (Compiled by Sumera Khan)
Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2013.