Opposition missed the train in presidential elections

The Presidential elections were held on 4th September and ruling party PTI candidate Dr. Arif Alvi was elected the 13th President of Pakistan after recieving 353 votes. The President is a ceremonial post, merely a figure head with the executive powers to Prime Minister by Constitution.

The constitution states that a presidential candidate must be Muslim man or women not less than 45 years of age.

Each provincial assembly is given exactly 65 votes in Electoral College. In Punjab, 5.70 votes are equal to I vote, Sindh assembly has 2.58 votes equal to 1 vote, KPK has 1.90 votes equal to 1 vote and Baluchistan assembly has 1 vote equal to 1 vote. Presently there are 330 members of National assembly and 12 seats are vacant. Senate has 104 votes.

As per un-official results, Dr. Arif Alvi got 212 votes, Moulana Fazul ul-Rehman 131 and Aitzaz Ahsan 81 votes. From Punjab Mr. Arif Alvi 32, Moulana Fazul Rahman 24 and Aitzaz Ahsan 1, Sindh Aitzaz Ahsan 39, Dr. Arif Alvi 22, Moulana Fazul Rehman 0, In KPK Dr. Arif Alvi  41, Moulana Fazul  Rehman 13, Aitzaz Ahsan 2 and Baluchistan  Mr. Arif Alvi 45, Moulana Fazul Rehman 15 and Aitzaz Ahsan 0.

PTI candidate Dr. Arif Alvi was expected to win whereas the opposition parties were split in two groups. PPP announced Aitzaz Ahsan without the consent of other opposition parties and all other parties supported Fazul Rahman’s candidacy. This dichotomy within the opposition served PTI.

Opposition parties led by Shahbaz Shareef raised objections to PPP’s candidate who was nominated without consensus. Both parties met multiple times but PPP refused to withdraw the name of Aitzaz Ahsan while other parties declined to withdraw Fazul Rehman. PPP ran a solitary campaign for  Aitzaz Ahsan without the  knowledge or support of other parties. This divisive rhetoric fuelled enthusiasm solidified Arif Alvi’s chances,

Fazul Rehman visited Karachi and Quetta to meet different political leaders to get their support for his presidential election but without PPP’s votes, he was not stronger than Arif Alvi. On the other side of the coin, PPP was hopeful that Fazul Rehman will withdraw in favour of Aitzaz Ahsan at the last moment.  Fazul Rehman, however, did no such thing, leading to the eventual collective loss for the opposition.

Pakistan People’s Party may consider uniting opposition parties, as PML-N has already favored PPP speakership but the party refused to vote for Shahbaz Sharif as a Prime Minister Candidate. Still, the ball is in PPP’s court. Opposition parties need to accept each other if they intend to remain intact. The time has passed to capture the presidency, which was one of the only ways for the opposition to play a constructive role as a real opposition.

The people of Pakistan also wants to keep checks and balances of the role of opposition and the progress of the ruling party in matters of public governance. Therefore, politicians must assume their prime responsibility to unite and the secure interest of the masses regardless of their political affiliation.

To accomplish this, a free and honest opposition that speaks out will always be the greatest support for any ruling party, driving prosperity and growth for Pakistan!

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