President-elect Mamnoon Hussain intends to take a head-start in fostering cordial relations with neighbours – a move, he believes, is necessary to boost the country’s fragile economy and uproot terrorism.
“My vision for Pakistan is to promote relations with its neighbours. This is the best solution to address the state’s fiery challenges,” said Hussain, who will be sworn in on September 9 at the Presidency due to be vacated by incumbent Asif Ali Zardari.
In an exclusive talk with The Express Tribune, Hussain endorsed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s foreign policy, which seeks candid relations with India, Russia, Iran and China. “It’s my constitutional duty to support my government to curb terrorism, overcome the energy crisis, as well as boost the weakened economy,” he added.
“I’m very glad to be an elected president today. Presidential elections proved a milestone in Pakistan’s democratic history,” said Hussain, a 73-year-old textile businessman from Karachi, who has been an active member of Pakistan Muslim League since the 1960s.
“As the country is facing numerous challenges, I’ll work together with the elected government,” Hussain said.
“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has already taken steps to put country’s affairs on right footings when it comes to promoting relations with Turkey, the Gulf states, Russia, China and India,” observed Hussain, who has served as governor of Sindh from June to October 1999, when Nawaz’s government was overthrown by the then army chief General Pervez Musharraf.
In his message to the people of Pakistan, the president-elect urged the nation to stand united, “as the country is facing both external and internal security threats.”
Talking about role of various institutions, Hussain said they should fulfill their responsibility as mentioned in the Constitution of the country. “The supremacy of the law is inevitable and must prevail in the country,” he replied to a question.
President’s oath and former president’s opinion
Mamnoon Hussain, who was elected by an electoral college made up of members of the Senate, National Assembly and the assemblies of the four provinces earlier this month, will be president for five years. He has already showed a symbolic move to establish himself as a non-partisan president as he resigned his membership of his party – the PML-N soon after the election results were announced.
Wasim Sajjad, a senior lawyer and former acting president, said: “It’s a historic development both for democracy as well as for constitutional process in Pakistan. A historic democratic tradition is written after the office of president of Pakistan is shifted from one elected president to another.”
About oath of the new president, he quoted the Article 42 of the Constitution which stated: “Before entering upon office, the president shall take oath before the chief justice of Pakistan in the form set out in the Third Schedule.”
In case the chief justice isn’t available then he can depute the most senior available judge of the apex court for administering the oath to the new president, he explained. “It’s a usual practice that the oath taking ceremony is held at President House,” he maintained.
Will Zardari receive guests on oath taking day?
Under normal circumstances, the outgoing president on the last day in office receives the president-elect at the presidency just before the oath ceremony and after the ceremony the new president bids farewell to the outgoing president, who departs after inspecting a guard of honour.
President’s spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said it is still premature to say whether President Zardari would receive the newly elected president, the prime minister and the chief justice just before the oath taking ceremony or not.
“It’s premature to confirm whether Zardari will receive these dignitaries [president elect, PM and CJ]?” he told The Express Tribune. He, however, made it clear that Zardari will remain in office till the end of his tenure.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2013.