Pakistan Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered holding of presidential election on July 30, a week ahead of the original date, in response to a petition from a close aide of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif seeking early date due to the ongoing Ramzan.
The Court’s ruling for polls to be held on an earlier date is to enable a number of lawmakers, who would be part of the electoral college, to complete rituals associated with the holy month of Ramzan.
The Election Commission had announced that the polls would be held on August 6, which falls on 27th day of the Muslim holy month of fasting which is considered as sacred.
Raja Zafrul Haq, Chairman of PML-N had asked the court to change the date in a petition filed yesterday.
Wednesday was the last date of submission of candidatures and Mamnoon Hussain of ruling PML-N and Raza Rabbani of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the two key contenders, filed nomination in Islamabad.
Mr. Hussain, a leading businessman from the port city of Karachi, is an old party hand and loyalist of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Born in 1940 in Indian historic city of Agra, he belongs to Urdu-speaking ethnic group that migrated from India after partition in 1947.
If elected, Mr. Hussain would be the 11th president of Pakistan.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf of former cricketer Imran Khan has nominate ex-judge Wajihuddin Ahmad for the top job.
Private individuals have also filed papers.
After scrutiny of paper, the final list of candidates will be issued on July 27. The President is elected by the four provincial assemblies and national Parliament.
According to the present number of lawmakers, PML-N candidate is expected to easily win.
In his brief talk to the media after filing paper, Mr. Hussain asked opposition to vote for him.
“If I am elected, I would work within the constitution of the country,” he said.
The new President will be sworn on September 8 and will replace incumbent Asif Ali Zardari.