ISLAMABAD - Despite boycott by PPP, ANP, PML-Q and BNP-Awami, the Parliament and the four provincial assemblies Tuesday elected PML-N candidate Mamnoon Hussain as the country’s 12th president with an overwhelming majority as he secured 432 votes against 77 of PTI’s Justice (r) Wajihuddin Ahmed.

In Islamabad, the National Assembly hall was declared polling station for the members of the National Assembly and the Senate. The polling that started at 10am through secret ballot concluded at 3pm with Chief Election Commissioner Justice (r) Fakharuddin G Ebrahim as the returning officer.

As the legislative houses had been declared polling stations for the presidential election, the National Assembly and the Senate votes were combined to form the Parliament’s joint polling station while every provincial assembly acted as a separate polling station.

As per plan, or a political move, the main opposition party, PPP, and its allies, ANP, PML-Q and BNP-Awami, boycotted the presidential election and stayed away from the parliament throughout the polling process. The PPP and its allied parties boycotted the polls over the revised schedule of the election.

Some say that by the boycott, the PPP leadership, under a well-thought-out plan, were trying to target the judiciary to counter it on its planned action against President Asif Ali over his pending graft cases.

Though PPP senior leaders deny these notions, insiders insist it is lining up opposition forces to mount pressure on the judiciary and the government to stop them from reopening the corruption cases against the outgoing president as his constitutional immunity will end with the completion of his five-year presidential term.

Notified as the returned candidate for the presidency, Mamnoon Hussain will be sworn in to replace President Asif Ali Zardari upon the completion of his five-year term on September 9.

As many as 314 members of the total 427 of the National Assembly and the Senate cast their votes. Three votes were declared invalid.

Registering a voters’ turnout of almost 79 percent, in the bigger break-up, a total number of 887 lawmakers of total 1,124 voters from the Parliament and the provincial assemblies exercised their right to vote in the presidential poll. The total strength of the electoral college becomes 1,174, including 50 vacant seats. With the rejection of total nine votes, the vote count stood at 878 of which Mamnoon Hussain from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) bagged 746 votes to defeat his lone rival, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Justice (r) Wajihduddin who secured 132 votes.

Sections 18 (1) (a) (b) and (c) of the Second Schedule state as under: “The number of votes cast in the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) in favour of each candidate shall be counted. 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 for the time being having the smallest number of seats and divided by the total number of seats in the provincial assembly in which the votes have been cast. The number of votes calculated in the manner referred to above shall be added to the number of votes counted under this clause.”

In their capacity as presiding officers, the chief justices of Lahore and Islamabad high courts rejected nine votes, six in Punjab and three in the Parliament, with the endorsement of the returning officer/chief election commissioner.

“We can’t force anybody to participate in the election,” CEC Justice (r) Fakharuddin said, in a referral to the boycott, while announcing the election result in a brief media interaction on Tuesday evening. “It would have been good if they had not boycotted, but nobody can force anybody into voting or anything.”

In his message to the president-elect, the CEC said, “You have been voted the president. Now it’s for you to come up to the expectations of the nation through good governance.”

In Punjab, 338 votes were cast, 309 went to Hussain and 23 to Wajih whereas six votes were rejected.

As many as 110 votes were polled in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the only polling station where Wajih beat Hussain with an equation of 69 votes against 41. Of the total 163, only 69 votes were polled in Sindh due to PPP’s boycott. Hussain got 64 and Wajih secured the remaining five. PTI has four votes in Sindh and got an additional vote. Despite having no strength in the Balochistan Assembly, PTI’s Wajihuddin clinched one vote while the remaining 55 votes went to Mamnoon Hussain to make the total vote count 56 at the provincial polling station.

Meanwhile, during the polling process in Islamabad both the contesting candidates were present in the election hall of the National Assembly. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and PTI Parliamentary Leader in the National Assembly Imran Khan cast their votes in the last hour of the polling.

Unlike his predecessor, the outgoing President Asif Ali Zardari, Mamnoon Hussain soon after his victory resigned from the basic membership of PML-N in a bid to establish that he had become symbol of the federation and had quitted the party politics. “Unlike my predecessor, I will not do party politics,” he told media persons soon after his victory. Asked whether he would like to meet the president whose term was expiring on September 8, the elect-president answered in the affirmative.

Agencies add: President Asif Ali Zardari has felicitated Mamnoon Hussain on his election to the office of the President of Pakistan. Spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar said that in his message of felicitation President Zardari wished the President-elect well in the discharge of his responsibilities as head of the federation.

He said that with the election of new President another big step had been taken towards smooth transfer of power in a democratic dispensation which was a good augury for democracy in the country. The President said that all our efforts should be geared towards strengthening democracy and the federation.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Tuesday felicitated Mamnoon Hussein on his election as the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The Prime Minister expressed the hope that the newly-elected President would come up to the expectations and trust reposed in him by the people’s representatives.

Mamnoon Hussain’s low profile is expected to provide a stark contrast to Zardari, considered a sharp political operator behind the scenes.

Born in India before partition of the subcontinent he and his family migrated to Karachi, along with hundreds of thousands of other Muslims from across the border.

He briefly served as governor of Sindh, of which Karachi is the capital, under Nawaz Sharif’s last premiership in 1999.

“He had no political affiliation until 1999 but his polite discourse and professional ability impressed Nawaz Sharif, who made him governor of Sindh,” said Azhar Haroon, current president of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

On the eve of the presidential elections, Mamnoon Hussain told PML-N supporters in Islamabad that the presidency was a symbol of the federation of Pakistan, and vowed to serve the country and its people.

A day earlier, Mamnoon was in Lahore, and talking to the media, he seemed much annoyed with the PPP over their boycott of the election saying it was a disservice to the democracy. PPP should come forward to strengthen democracy instead, he said.

When pointed out that many people were saying that he was going to be a dummy president like Rafiq Ahmad Tarar, he defended the former president and said, a president has to act within the ambience of his constitutional duties.

He said constitutionally the president has to act on the advice to the prime minister while there was no harm if he facilitates the government. He rejected the impression that the president is dictated by the PM, saying that he only acts on the advice.