Pakistan is electing a new President on September 4, 2018 as the incumbent Head of the State. Mamnoon Hussain is stepping down around that date after the completion of his stipulated constitutional tenure of five years.The Presidential election came in the wake of the general elections held on July 25. The formation of National and Provincial Assemblies and Governments is an indicator of free and fair elections and transparency. Moreover it demonstrates the continuity of our democratic process, howsoever fragile it may be. Non-Muslims living in Pakistan can reach any high office in the country except that of the President. According to the Constitution, there shall be a President of Pakistan who will be the Head of State and shall represent unity within the Republic. A person shall not be qualified for contesting elections for the President unless he is a Muslim of not less than 45 years of age and is qualified to be elected as a member of the National Assembly.Members of the two Houses of the Parliament i.e. the Senate and National Assembly and of the Provincial Assemblies of the Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and Balochistan , including non-Muslims and women members, will vote for the President through secret balloting. Counting of the votes cast is bit ticklish. According to the Constitution, the number of votes cast in the Parliament in favour of each candidate shall be counted and the number of votes cast in a Provincial Assembly in favour of each candidate shall be multiplied by the total number of seats in the Provincial Assembly.According to the latest information, there are three candidates for the top slot of the President of Pakistan. New ruling party at the federal level Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI) headed by Prime Minister Imran Khan was first to name Dr Arif Alvi as its candidate. Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) headed by Chairman Bilawal B Zardari followed by naming an old guard Aitzaz Ahsan as its candidate and opposition parties alliance headed by Pakistan Muslim League — Nawaz (PML-N) has fielded Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam’s own faction head; Maulana Fazlur Rehman as its candidate. Despite last minute concerted efforts, opposition parties could not agree upon a single candidate. PML-N had reservations against Ch Aitzaz Ahsan and the PPP leadership did not budge from its stance and stuck to retain the candidate they had already named. This division in the opposition camp will obviously benefit ruling party PTI in getting its candidate Dr Arif Alvi as the new President. But still the ruling and opposition parties are making last minute efforts individually and collectively to muster maximum support for their respective candidates.Statistically and historically speaking, the candidate who will be victorious out of the three in the run on September 4 will be the sixteenth President of the country including four Chief Martial Law Administrators/Presidents and three acting Presidents.Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was the first Governor General of the newly created Pakistan representing the British monarch as the Head of the State as Pakistan had remained a Dominion till it had become a Republic and had formulated its own Constitution on March 23,1956. The date coincided with the passage of the historic Lahore Resolution at the Minto Park on March 23, 1940 of the All India Muslim League meeting held under leadership of the Quaid-i-Azam.PTI, headed by Prime Minister Imran Khan, was first to name Dr Arif Alvi as its candidate. PPP followed by naming Aitzaz Ahsan as its candidate, while the opposition parties’ alliance, headed by PML-N, has fielded Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam’s own faction head, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, as its candidateThe Quaid-i-Azam, who could not live longer because of his failing health, was followed by three Governor Generals; Khwaja Nazimuddin, Malik Ghulam Muhammad, and Major General Iskander Ali Mirza. Major General Iskander Ali Mirza was last of the four Governor Generals of the newly born country and also became the first President when Pakistan became the Republic.He was followed by General turned Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan, General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Fazal Elahi Chaudhry, General Muhammad Ziaul Haq, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Sardar Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari, Justice (retd) Muhammad Rafiq Tarar, General Pervez Musharraf, Asif Ali Zardari and our current President Mamnoon Hussain.Needless to mention that Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan, General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq and General Pervez Musharraf were the four military dictators who had assumed power as the Army Chiefs from civilian rulers except for General Yahya Khan who had seized power from Ayub Khan.As a matter of fact, the Senate Chairman was to officiate as the President whenever such a situation arose that there was no President and the office had somehow fallen vacant.Ghulam Ishaq Khan as the Senate Chairman had become the acting President in August 1988 when President General Zia-ul-Haq had perished in a C-130 plane crash near Bahawalpur on August 17, 1988. He was then duly elected as the President a couple of months later.Wasim Sajjad as the Chairman Senate had become acting President first when President Ghulam Ishaq Khan had resigned in July, 1993 following very serious differences with then prime minister, Nawaz Sharif. Muhammad Mian Soomro as the Senate Chairman had become acting President for the intervening period of General Pervez Musharraf stepping down as the President in August 2008 and Asif Ali Zardari being elected as the President in September 2008.The fifteenth National Assembly formed as an outcome of July 25, 2018 general elections. After which the twenty-second Prime Minister of Pakistan was elected; Imran Khan. Furthermore now the newly constituted central legislature will be electing the sixteenth President on September 4, 2018.The writer is Lahore-based Freelance Journalist, Columnist and retired Deputy Controller (News) Radio Pakistan Islamabad and can be reached at email@example.comPublished in Daily Times, September 4th 2018.