Pakistan to Get New President on July 30th

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LAHORE: The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) ordered on Wednesday that the presidential polls for the country’s new president will be held on July 30, 2013. Earlier the polls were to be held on August 6th. The SCP has taken the decision to revise the polling date on the request of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The SCP has instructed the ECP’s Director General to execute the court orders by completing the candidates’ scrutiny process by tomorrow (Thursday).

According to AFP, “the court made the order as many of the lawmakers who will elect a replacement for President Asif Ali Zardari will be paying pilgrimages or offering special prayers on August 6 for the Islamic Holy month of Ramadan, which ends a few days later.”

Mamnoon Hussain, the presidential candidate of ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), is the strongest candidate for the position. He has also served as Governor of Sind province during the last tenure of PML-N in 1999.

The PML-N’s federal government made a request to the ECP for changing the polling date, which had been turned down. The party’s Senator Raja Zafarul Haq, then, submitted a petition to the SCP for the purpose. In his petition, Haq requested the apex court not to hold the polls during last ten days of Ramadan.

The former ruling Pakistan People’s Party’s Zardari, who came to power in the aftermath of his wife Benazir Bhutto’s assassination in December 2007, has already announced that he will not run for the polls. But his party has fielded Raza Rabbani as its candidate for the presidential polls.

Rabbani has termed the SCP’s decision to revise the polling date as one-sided.

Atif K Butt is a young Pakistani journalist and translator based in Lahore.Atif has worked with print and electronic news organizations. He contributes to various newspapers and magazines as a freelancer. Access him through NewsBlaze or visit his blog at atifkbutt.blog.com