ISLAMABAD/KARACHI/PESHAWAR/QUETTA/LAHORE - PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari was elected as the President of Pakistan on Saturday by securing 481 votes in the triangular presidential contest, thus heralding a new era of political stability and economic progress in the country. Announcing the official results, the Chief Election Commissioner Justice (Retd) Qazi Muhammad Farooq declared Asif Ali Zardari as winner who secured 481 votes of Electoral College that consisted of the National Assembly, Senate and the four provincial assemblies. President-elect Asif Ali Zardari said that the Parliament is sovereign and the President shall be subservient to it. "I congratulate the nation and the Parliament," Zardari said in his maiden speech after obtaining well over two-thirds majority and totally outmatching his opponents in the presidential election. Flanked by his two daughters Bakhtawar and Asifa, Zardari made these remarks while addressing a gathering of parliamentarians, friends, party workers and media persons at an Iftar-dinner hosted in his honour at the PM House. He vowed to pursue the philosophy of Benazir Bhutto and said that her saying 'democracy is the best revenge' had proved true. "She taught us how to do politics. We intend to follow the policies of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, for the democracy for which they laid down their lives," he said. He said a weak democracy had managed to get two-thirds majority and make a President, where a dictator in uniform couldn't deliver that. The President-elect Asif Ali Zardari said, "Democracy talks and everyone hears and to those who would say that the PPP or the presidency would be controversial but under our guardianship and stewardship, I would say, listen to democracy. Ninety-nine per cent of the people have spoken," Zardari said. Zardari got overwhelming majority from three provincial assemblies, Sindh, Balochistan and NWFP, over his opponents, while PML-N candidate Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui could secure majority votes only from Punjab Assembly. According to details, Zardari bagged 281 votes from Parliament (National Assembly and Senate), 22 from Punjab, 63 from Sindh, 59 from Balochistan and 56 from NWFP. While Saeeduzzaman Siddique bagged 153 and PML-Q candidate Mushahid Hussain Sayed got 44 votes respectively. In the Parliament, Siddiqui secured 111 votes, while and Mushahid Hussain bagged 34, out of a total of 436 votes of which 10 were declared invalid. Asif Ali Zardari secured 123, 162, 107 and 59 votes from Punjab, Sindh, NWFP and Balochistan Assemblies respectively. Justice (Retd) Siddique got 201 votes from Punjab Assembly, none from Sindh, 10 from NWFP and 2 from Balochistan Assembly. Mushahid Hussain got 36 from Punjab Assembly, none from Sindh, 3 from NWFP and 2 from Balochistan Assembly. The voting was held through a secret ballot in the Parliament and the four provincial assemblies simultaneously. Earlier, the Parliament House and the galleries echoed with vociferous slogans of "Jeye Bhutto" and "Zinda hae Bibi zinda hae" when the Chief Election Commissioner announced the unofficial results placing Zardari far ahead of his rivals. Zardari termed his victory as a success of the people and the democracy, while his young daughters Bakhtawar and Asifa witnessed the momentous event in the Parliament House from the gallery. Fiza Gilani, the daughter of Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, gave them company. The women parliamentarians overwhelmed with emotions rushed to the two sisters and hugged them with tearful eyes. Party workers waved the tri-colour party flags and photographs of late Benazir Bhutto. Asif Ali Zardari is likely to take oath of his office as President of Pakistan on September 9, 2008 and Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar will administer the oath at the Aiwan-e-Sadr. Report from Karachi: Zardari swept the presidential election in his home province by securing 162 out of 163 votes in the Sindh Assembly on Saturday while one vote was declared invalid, according to unofficial result announced by presiding officer, Chief Justice Sindh High Court, Anwar Zaheer Jamali. The House echoed with the slogans of Jeay Bhutto "Zinda Hai Bibi Zinda Hai", as soon as the unofficial result was announced. Not a single vote was cast in favour of PML-N candidate, Justice Saeeduz Zaman and PML-Q nominee Mushahid Hussain Syed. The Sindh Assembly has a total of 168 members but the present strength is 166 out of which 163 participated in the voting while one PPP member Nadir Magsi was on party duty in Balochistan and MQM legislator Dr. M.A Shah was out of country on medical leave. Former Chief Minister and President PML-Q Sindh Dr. Arbab Rahim did not attend the special session of the provincial assembly convened to elect the new president of Pakistan. Just 15 minutes before the closing of voting time, eight PML-F legislators along with two PML-Q members, including Abdur Razzaque Rahimoon and Arbab Zulfiqar, entered the hall and cast their votes in favour of the PPP candidate. Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah greeted Masroor Jatoi, Arif Jatoi and Abid Jatoi of NPP on their arrival in the House at about 11:30 A.M. PPP female legislator, Ruqia Khanum Soomro, who was hospitalised, was brought to the House on a stretcher. Mohsin Shah Bukhari, the PPP legislator from Tando Allahyar, specially flew in from London to cast his vote. He is reported to be severely ill and getting treatment in London. The PPP has 93 seats in the Sindh Assembly out of which 92 were polled while MQM has 51 members and 50 cast their votes. NPP and ANP had two votes each. All of the eight PML-F votes were cast in favour of Asif Ali Zardari while eight out of a total of nine PML-Q members gave their votes in favour of the PPP candidate. Polling started at 10:10 A.M and PPP member Abdul Haq alias Dost Muhammad was the first to cast his vote. Names of the voters were called according in alphabetic order. Sindh Law Minister Ayaz Soomro was the polling agent of Asif Ali Zardari while Saleem Zia and Yousuf Alvi performed this duty for Justice Saeeduz Zaman Siddiqui and Mushahid Hussain Syed respectively. PML-N leader Saleem Zia congratulated PPP Co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari on his victory in the presidential election. Talking to newsmen after the unofficial results were declared, he said that the presidential election was a democratic process and completed in democratic manner. Report from Peshawar: Zardari emerged victorious in the NWFP Assembly in the presidential election by securing 107 votes out of 124 total polled votes. Meanwhile, PML-N candidate Justice (r) Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui grabbed 10 votes and Pakistan Muslim League-Q candidate, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, obtained only three votes. Four votes were declared invalid. Presiding Officer, Justice Tariq Pervez, Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court, declared the unofficial results soon after the counting of the votes. The voting process was held in a peaceful atmosphere. Though, the voting was to be held through a secret ballot, but it did not remain secret in reality as approximately all MPAs of ANP, PPP, JUI-F, PPP-(S) and independents showed their ballot papers to ANP leader and Provincial Information Minister Mian Ifthikhar Hussain and PPP leader and Provincial Health Minister Syed Zahir Ali Shah after marking. Both the provincial ministers were sitting on the left and right sides of the polling booth. After marking his or her ballot paper, each MPA showed them in whose favour he or she was casting vote. When Miss Nargas Samin, an MPA from PPP-S, was caught by the Presiding Officer showing her ballot paper to Mian Ifthikhar, he called her to the dais and asked to hand over her ballot paper to him, which he, later, put in his pocket. Then polling process was stopped for a short time and the Presiding Officer, Justice Tariq Pervez, went to the Speaker's chamber. The polling agents, Barrister Javed Abbasi of the MPL-N, Liaqat Shabab of PPP and Nighat Aurakzai of MPL-Q, also went to the speaker's chamber after a few moments. After a short break, the Presiding Officer again joined the House and called back Miss Nargas Samin to return her ballet paper, which she polled. Later, Presiding Officer Justice Tariq Pervez Khan directed all the MPAs to stop showing their ballot papers but the parliamentarians set aside his directives and kept on showing ballots till the end of the election. The voting was completed before the scheduled time. Provincial Minister for Prisons Mian Nisar Gul cast his vote in the end, as he remained busy in the funeral of his mother. Presiding officer Justice Tariq Pervez Khan asked the House to pray for the departed soul of the minister mother. When Asif Ali Zardari was declared victorious after the counting, the PPP MPAs began chanting slogans of "Jeye Bhutto" and "Zinda hae Bibi Zinda hae". Report from Quetta: Zardari emerged victorious in presidential election in the Balochistan Assembly by securing 59 votes. 63 members of Balochistan Assembly cast their votes in the election. Other candidates for the office, Justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqi of PML-N and Syed Mushahid Hussain of PML-Q got two votes each. Voting for election was held in the building of Balochistan Assembly. The Chief Justice of Balochistan High Court Amanullah Khan Yasinzai presided over the election. The polling started at 10 am and continued till 3 pm without any break. The total number of votes of Balochistan Assembly are 65. Two members including Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind and Tariq Hussain Masoori did not come to Assembly to cast their votes. Both belonged to PML-Q. Asif Ali Zardari obtained 59 votes, which is the highest vote from Balochistan Assembly since increase in its members from 42 to 65 in 2002. Earlier, Pervez Musharraf had obtained 33 votes in controversial presidential election in 2007. The PML-N has only one member in Balochistan Assembly. Justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqi obtained two votes. The other vote which was cast in his favour was that of sole member of JUI (Ideological). Though JUI (Ideological) is part of coalition government in Balochistan, headed by Pakistan People's Party but it decided to support PML- N presidential candidate declaring the policies of PPP harmful for the country. The PML-Q had emerged as the single largest party in February, 18 elections in Balochistan but it could not maintain its unity because of party's defeat on country level. Not only ten members of PML-Q formed a group in the name of PML (Like-minded) and supported PPP in government formation in Balochistan but other members of PML-Q except Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind also supported PPP in this connection. When Syed Mushahid Hussain arrived Quetta in connection with his campaign six members of PML-Q had gone to airport to receive him and Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. But he obtained only two votes from Balochistan Assembly. Report from Lahore: The PML-Q was put to rout in Punjab Assembly, as its presidential candidate Mushahid Hussain Syed bagged only 36 votes as against 84, the original party strength in the assembly. Though it was being anticipated that some Q-league legislators, especially those in forward bloc, would vote in favour of PPP and PML-N candidates, but no one had thought they would desert the party in such a large number. At least 30 members of the so-called forward bloc voted for PML-N candidate, Justice (R) Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui, while six from within this group including Najaf Sial, Col (R) Muhammad Abbas, Iqbal Langrial, Jawad Kamran, Fateh Buzdar, Ahmad Khan Baloch and Zobia Rubab Malik reportedly voted for Asif Zardari. It is significant to note that it was only in Punjab Assembly where PPP candidate got the lowest number of votes, 123, which makes 22 electoral votes. Saeeduzzaman Siddiqi got the highest number of votes, 201 (35 electoral votes), while Mushahid Hussain got only 36 (6 electoral votes). Ten votes were rejected, out of which, seven were found to be polled in favour of PML-N candidate and three in support of Asif Zardari. These ballots were found marked with a "tick" mark instead of the prescribed "cross". This special session of Punjab Assembly was chaired by Chief Justice of Lahore High Court, Justice Syed Zahid Hussain. The charged PML-N and PPP members kept raising slogans in the House in favour of their respective leaders during the polling process. "Shair Aaya, Shair Aaya", and "Jiey Bhutto" slogans echoed in the House in intervals. The polling remained suspended for five minutes when Zardari's polling agent and provincial finance minister Tanvir Ashraf Kaira raised objection to PML-N member Zaib Jafar's way of casting vote. She displayed her ballot paper before putting it into the ballot box. The PPP members alleged that she displayed the ballot paper so that her party men could see the name of candidate she had voted for. Justice Siddiqui's polling agent Rana Mashhood and many other members from both parties surrounded the presiding officer and argued with him for some time. The polling resumed after Kaira withdrew his objection, as he was allowed to put the ballot paper of Zaib Jafar into the ballot box. Punjab Chief Minister, Shahbaz Sharif cast his vote just a few minutes before close of the polling. One of PML-Q forward bloc member Najaf Abbas Sial, was greeted by PML-N members amid loud sloganeering of 'Lota, Lota', but he responded by passing a smile at the agitating legislators. Saba Sadiq was also 'welcomed' in a similar way. The polling process completed at 3 pm, and the presiding officer announced the result at 5pm. The PPP members began raising slogans of "president Zardari," and "Aik Zardari, Sab pe Bhhari," even before declaration of the final count after knowing the result in the national and three provincial assemblies, which was declared much earlier. After announcement of result, the PPP members rushed out of the assembly chamber, and had a round of the assembly building.