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Tuesday April 23, 2024

Bilawal confident Zardari to beat Achakzai in presidential election

"Achakzai cannot call himself a nationalist if he is going to be a representative of PTI," says Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari

By Web Desk
March 02, 2024

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari Saturday expressed confidence in his father and party's Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari becoming the president as the country moves towards the presidential election.

Zardari is a joint candidate of PPP and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) along with other political parties part of the coalition set to form a government in the Centre, for the presidential polls against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed Sunni Ittehad Council's (SIC) candidate Mahmood Khan Achakzai.

Both the candidates are veteran politicians but the PPP leader is said to be the strongest, having the support of several parties in the parliament.

Meanwhile, Achakzai, who is the chief of Pashtun­khwa Milli Awami Party (PKMAP), has the backing of the PTI founder Imran Khan, who has urged his party’s lawmakers to vote for the senior politician.

The presidential election is set to take place on March 9, but Bilawal is of the view that SIC has the right to nominate anyone as their candidate for the presidential slot but "Asif Zardari will become the country's president".

Speaking to journalists in Quetta, the PPP chairman said that he has great respect and regard for Achakzai but he "cannot call himself a nationalist if he is going to be a representative of PTI".

As his party has formed the government in Balochistan with the election of Sarfaraz Bugti as the chief minister, Bilawal stressed "reconciliation" with representatives outside the assemblies and other stakeholders in the conduct of provincial affairs.

He said that Bugti would be a strong chief minister compared to the PPP's stint in Balochistan after the 2008 elections.

"Issues in Sindh and Balochistan are similar. Our complaints are to the Centre," the young politician said, pledging to take Quetta's voice to Islamabad.

He also pledged to confront the terrorists and extremists in the province and resolve the issue of Baloch missing persons through the parliamentary committee.

Separately, PML-N leader Khawaja Asif said while speaking to media outside Parliament House, that PTI changed its "brand" by nominating Achakzai as its presidential candidate.

He said that when the brand is changed, the leader should also be changed.

"[PTI] was calling others a lota [turncoat] but now it is sitting with a gathering of lotas," he added.

Presidential election

According to the ECP's schedule, the nomination papers for the presidential election can be submitted by noon today (Saturday), while the scrutiny of nomination papers will be completed by March 4.

Candidates who wish to withdraw their nomination papers can do so by March 5. Whereas, the final list of candidates will be published on March 6 after which the polling will take place.

At least five candidates have submitted their nomination papers for the presidential election.

Zardari's nomination papers were submitted by PPP leader Farooq H Naek, while PTI-backed SIC leader Latif Khosa submitted Achakzai’s papers.

Meanwhile, Advocate Asghar Ali Mubarak, an independent candidate Waheed Kamal, and a citizen Abdul Quddus also submitted their nomination papers to run for the presidential polls.