LAHORE - As the election of the president is only two days away, all candidates for the country’s top constitutional office have stepped up contacts with other parties in an attempt to get maximum votes.
PTI’s presidential candidate Dr Arif Alvi, accompanied by Sindh Governor Imran Ismail and some other important party leaders, called on PML-Q leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and others on Saturday and got assurance for fullest backing from the latter.
Pervaiz Elahi is also speaker of the Punjab Assembly. However, since he is the acting governor at present, the Sept 4 session of the provincial legislature will be presided over by the deputy speaker.
Addressing a news conference after the talks, Pervaiz Elahi said the PTI and the PML-Q have been working in close coordination ever since they formed an alliance. “Our campaign for Dr Alvi is in full swing and we want Dr Alvi to win with a big margin. Other parties are also lending full cooperation”.
According to him, Maulana Fazlur Rehman also contacted him. “However, both of us kept smiling (during the call)”, said the PML-Q leader, implying that both of them stuck to their respective positions. There are three candidates contesting the presidential election. They are Dr Alvi (PTI), Aitzaz Ahsan (PPP) and Maulana Fazlur Rehman (supported by PML-N and other opposition parties).
The PPP has refused to withdraw Mr Aitzaz from the race despite repeated contacts made by the PML-N and other parties. The PPP, on the other hand, wants Maulana Fazlur Rehman to withdraw his candidature to make it a straight contest between the ruling coalition and the opposition parties.
However, so far, the PPP and other opposition parties are not willing to budge from their declared stands.
The presence of two opposition candidates in the field will divide the anti-PTI vote, as a result of which Dr Alvi will be benefitted.
Aitzaz Ahsan has been reported as saying in Islamabad that dialogue is going on with the JUI-F to persuade Maulana Fazlur Rehman to withdraw from the contest.
Some media reports say that although the PML-N is supporting Maulana Fazlur Rehman, there are people who have reservations about his candidature. They argue that the JUI-F chief had been tasked to convince the PPP to withdraw Mr Aitzaz Ahsan but instead of focusing on the subject he himself became a candidate.
According to reports, the opposition parties are backing the cleric with a heavy heart. The JUI-F chief met political leaders in Balochistan on Saturday to seek their support.
This province is important for the presidential election as every MPA has one vote, which is just like the votes of every MNA and Senator.
For the purpose of presidential election, the total votes of each provincial legislature are equal to 65, the number of seats of the Balochistan Assembly.
After the completion of the presidential election the democratic system will be complete in all respects. While all other functionaries have already assumed their respective roles, the governors for Punjab and Balochistan will also take over after the presidential election.
PTI leader Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, who is a Senator, has already been designated for the post, but he will assume charge after casting his vote for the presidential candidate.
Ali Jogezai recently emerged as a candidate for Balochistan governor. However, the ruling PTI claimed that it was just a proposal, not a decision.