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Pakistan to elect its 14th president today amid parties boycotting polls

Islamabad: Several parties, like Maulana Fazlur Rehman's Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) and Jamaat-e-Islami, are not participating in the election of Pakistan's 14th president, with polling underway in the national and provincial assemblies as well as the Senate, ARY News reported.
Two prominent candidates, Asif Ali Zardari, the joint nominee of PPP and PML-N, and Mahmood Khan Achakzai from the Sunni Ittehad Council, are the contenders for the presidential office. The current ruling coalition, comprising PML-N, PPP, and MQM-P, has thrown its support behind Asif Ali Zardari.
The president is chosen by an electoral college consisting of members from the Senate, the National Assembly, and the four provincial assemblies. A joint session of the parliament is being conducted at the parliament house in Islamabad, where members from both the National Assembly and the Senate will cast their votes, according to ARY News.
Simultaneously, provincial assemblies are convening their sessions for the presidential election. The Election Commission of Pakistan has designated all four assemblies as polling stations for the smooth conduct of the electoral process.
The breakdown of voting members includes at least 162 from the provincial assembly in Sindh, 353 in Punjab, 65 in Balochistan, and 115 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, all contributing to the election of the new president.
With a majority in all assemblies and the Senate, Asif Ali Zardari, the co-chairman of PPP, is poised to secure the presidency for the second time.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Saturday, swiftly rejected the plea from Mehmood Khan Achakzai, the presidential candidate backed by the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), to delay the upcoming presidential elections, ARY News reported.
The commission, in a comprehensive 10-page written verdict, highlighted that Achakzai had not raised any objections during the scrutiny of nomination papers. Additionally, the electoral college required for the presidential election was deemed complete by the ECP.
Achakzai had submitted a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner, asserting that the electoral college for the presidential election remained "incomplete." He emphasised that certain reserved seats had not been filled through nominations and elections, and proceeding with the presidential election under these circumstances would be a denial of votes, violating fundamental rights, laws, and the constitution, as reported by ARY News.
The letter stated, "Under the above circumstances, it is submitted that the proposed election to the office of the President of Pakistan is impossible, therefore the same may kindly be postponed or delayed till completion of the electoral college accordingly in the best interest of justice, fair play, and equity."
However, the ECP swiftly rejected this request, maintaining that all necessary procedures had been followed, and the electoral college was deemed complete for the scheduled presidential election. Notably, polling was already underway across Pakistan's national and provincial assemblies, as well as the Senate, to elect the country's 14th president, according to ARY News.
The current dynamics see former president Asif Ali Zardari backed by the PML-N-led eight-party coalition, in line with an agreement reached post the February 8 elections. In contrast, nationalist leader Mahmood Achakzai stands as the candidate supported by the PTI-Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) alliance.
The president is elected by an electoral college comprising members from the Senate, the National Assembly, and the four provincial assemblies. With a majority in all assemblies and the Senate, PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari is poised to secure a second term as the President of Pakistan, ARY News reported. (

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