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PTI nominates Mahmood Khan Achakzai to oppose Zardari in the presidential election in Pakistan


Firebrand Pashtun nationalist leader from Balochistan, Mehmood Khan Achakzai, will run in the March 9 presidential election against PPP's Asif Ali Zardari with PTI support.

Three more citizens have also submitted nomination papers to Chief Justice Aamer Farooq of the Islamabad High Court (IHC), the presiding officer, through their representatives.

Advocate Farooq H. Naek submitted the nomination papers for Mr Zardari, and the PTI's Sardar Latif Khosa did the same for Mr Achakzai, the president of the Pakhtoonkhwa Mili Awami Party (PKMAP).

As per the agreement made following the February 8 elections, the eight-party coalition led by the PML-N supports former president Zardari, while Mr Achakzai is the PTI-Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) alliance candidate.

Mr. Naek, the proposer, and the seconder are the former president, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari. Senator Saleem Mandviwalla of the PPP was also present in the IHC when the papers were submitted. Asad Qaiser of the PTI and Ali Mohammad Khan of the PTI are Mr. Achakzai's proposer and seconder, respectively.

As per the Constitution, any Muslim citizen of Pakistan who has reached the age of 45 and is qualified to serve as a member of the National Assembly is eligible to run for president. Waheed Ahmed Kamal, Asghar Ali Mubarak, and Abdul Qadoos were the other three candidates who filed their nomination papers.

On the other hand, it is anticipated that their papers will be rejected on technical grounds because nominations need to come from members of any of the six legislatures in the nation who serve as proposers and seconders.

Noor Muhammad Mirza, the secretary to the chief justice of the IHC, has turned in his nomination papers to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

On March 4 (tomorrow), the commission will review the forms by the election schedule that the ECP released. The following day will see the release of the final candidate list, and on March 9, polls will be held.

MNAs and senators will vote in the National Assembly, where IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq will oversee the election proceedings.


Each of the four provincial assemblies will host polling places for the presidential election.

By Article 41(4) of the Constitution, which mandates that the presidential election must occur within 30 days following the general elections, the presidential election is being held on March 9.

The presidential election must be held by March 9—two days before half of the senators retire after serving their full six-year terms—because the general elections were held on February 8.

Before this, Mr. Zardari held the president's office from September 2008 to 2013, following the resignation of Pervez Musharraf, the military dictator.

However, Mr Achakzai's announcement as the president came as a shock, as the Baloch nationalist leader had just the day before made a strong speech in the National Assembly criticizing the purported involvement of the military establishment in politics and endorsing the imprisoned PTI founder Imran Khan.

In an informal conversation with reporters at Parliament House, Khawaja Asif of the PML-N commented on the development and made fun of the PTI, stating that it appeared as though "the party has changed its brand."

Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, the PPP, added that although he has the utmost respect for Mr Achakzai, he cannot call himself a nationalist should he be chosen as the PTI's presidential candidate.

Following the PTI's nomination of him for president, Mr Achakzai contacted Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the leader of the JUI-F, to ask for his support.

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