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No consensus, Oppn chooses two for Pak presidential poll 

Islamabad, August 27

Two presidential candidates were on Monday chosen by Pakistan’s warring factions of the Opposition alliance which failed to reach a consensus on fielding a joint nominee, giving an upper hand to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s pick for the post of President, according to a media report.

Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Aitzaz Ahsan and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman emerged as the two candidates who will challenge Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Dr Arif Alvi in the election of September 4.

The Election Commission of Pakistan had announced on August 16 that the presidential election will be held on September 4 — five days before the expiry of the five-year term of President Mamnoon Hussain.

The failure of the opposition parties to field a joint candidate will virtually provide a walkover to the ruling PTI’s Alvi for the president’s office, the report said. 

While Ahsan filed his papers for the presidential election hours before the noon deadline on Monday, a JUI-F spokesperson claimed that Fazl would be the single nominee of the opposition parties, with the exception of the PPP.

The JUI-F chief will submit his nomination papers shortly as the joint candidate of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA), Awami National Party, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and National Party, the spokesperson was quoted as saying by the report.

The PPP and the PML-N representatives directly and with the help of mediators remained in touch throughout on Sunday in their bid to reach an understanding, but all their efforts failed after the PPP’s refusal to withdraw Ahsan’s name, the report said. The PML-N’s acting secretary general Ahsan Iqbal, however, said they had been still making all-out efforts to bring a joint opposition candidate, expressing the hope that the PPP might show “flexibility”. 

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