Islamabad - Nomination of PPP veteran leader Aitzaz Ahsan by his party as candidate on Sunday spiced up the Presidential election to be held on September 4.
The ruling coalition of Prime Minister Imran Khan has already nominated one of PTI’s founding members from Karachi Dr Arif Alivi.
Ahsan’s nomination has opened up a new political discussion among the opposition parties in the parliament.
So it is yet to be seen whether the main opposition party, PML-N would nominate its own candidate or support the PPP’s candidate for which chances are little because of the divergent positions both the opposition parties had taken in the election for premiership.
PPP Co-Chairman Asif Zardari also took JUI-F's Maulana Fazlur Rehman into confidence over the party's decision and requested him to play a role in convincing the PML-N to support Ahsan as a presidential candidate.
Relations between the PPP and PML-N have been tense since the former refused to support Shehbaz Sharif as candidate for prime minister and abstained from voting in the Lower House, making his contest against Imran Khan a one-sided affair.
Ties continued to sour after the PPP withdrew its support to PML-N with reports suggesting that the latter was seeking to oust PPP leader Sherry Rehman from her position as Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and attempting to replace her with Raja Zafarul Haq.
The PPP also abstained from voting earlier in the election for Punjab Assembly speaker and deputy speaker and in today's election for Punjab chief minister, which PML-N's Hamza Shehbaz lost to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's Usman Buzdar by 27 votes.
So it is yet to be seen how other opposition parties including PML-N and other opposition groups including MMA, ANP and PkMAP and independents in the National and provincial Assemblies and respond to the new political situation.
The last day for the submission of nomination papers is Aug 27 and the President is elected by the members of Senate and National and four provincial assemblies.
On the other hand, his rival candidate Dr Alvi is a hardcore PTI activist and was among more than 100 candidates who were fielded by the PTI in the 1997 elections. All the aspirants, including Imran Khan, lost most of them to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.
Dr Alvi ran in the 1997 elections from, now erstwhile, PS-114 (Clifton Karachi) but could secure only 2,000 plus votes. He contested from another constituency — PS-90 (Karachi West) — in the 2002 elections but received fewer votes (1,276) than his previous tally.
For a long time, Dr Alvi has remained the only known face of the party in Sindh as he dedicated his time, house and money for the party.
According to the PTI’s official website, he is one of its founding members and was the party’s secretary general from 2006 till 2013.
For the first time, he was elected a member of the National Assembly from the erstwhile Clifton constituency NA-250 (now NA-247) in the 2013 polls, which was the only NA seat won by the party in Sindh.
“This was despite a serious law and order situation (in Karachi), blatant rigging and threats to people not to cast their votes,” says the PTI website.
Though not as successful as his Captain, Dr Alvi has a history of playing sports. He played squash, cricket and hockey in his younger days and is still said to be a sports enthusiast.
Dr Alvi is regarded as one of the authors of the PTI’s constitution. He was part of the PTI’s central executive council for a year since 1996 and then he was appointed the party’s president in Sindh in 1997. In 2001, he was promoted to the post of vice president and then became the party’s secretary general in 2006, a post he held until 2013.
He has been re-elected to the National Assembly from the same Clifton constituency now called NA-247 (Karachi South-II) in the July 25 general election.