Alvi Receives Guard of Honour, Zardari Eyes Presidential Victory

Pakistan is gearing up for the presidential election on Saturday, March 9, 2024, with former president and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari as the frontrunner to become the 14th head of state. Zardari has the backing of the ruling coalition, which comprises the PPP, PML-N, PML-Q, IPP, NP, BAP and MQM-P. He is expected to secure more than 400 electoral votes out of the total 1,109.

Zardari’s main rival is PkMAP chairman Mahmood Khan Achakzai, who has the support of the PTI-backed SIC and MWM. Achakzai is likely to get around 94 votes, according to parliamentary sources. JUI-F, JI and BNP-M have announced that they will boycott the election.

The presidential election will be held by secret ballot in the Parliament House and the four provincial assemblies. The members of the Senate and the National Assembly will cast their votes in Islamabad, while the members of the Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan assemblies will vote in their respective capitals.

The presidential election comes a day after President Dr Arif Alvi was given a farewell guard of honour by a smartly turned-out contingent of the armed forces at the Aiwan-e-Sadr. Alvi, who was sworn in on September 9, 2018, completed his term last year but continued to serve in the presidency due to the delay in the formation of the electoral college.

Alvi stood at the saluting dais as the national anthem was played and then shook hands with the officers and staffers of the presidency. He thanked the nation for their support and cooperation during his tenure and expressed his confidence in the democratic process.

Alvi, who was the 13th president of Pakistan, was elected with the support of the PTI and its allies. He is a dentist by profession and a close aide of Prime Minister Imran Khan. He is also the founder of the Pakistan Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and has been involved in various social and humanitarian causes.

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