Sharif cements power base with prez election
Islamabad: Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has
strengthened his grip on power with his nominee Mamnoon Hussain winning
Hussain, a senior leader of Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) and a
businessman from the port city of Karachi, will be sworn in as the 12th
president of Pakistan for a five-year term September 9, reports Xinhua.
He will succeed incumbent Asif Ali Zardari, leader of the main opposition
Pakistan People's Party (PPP).
Hussain resigned as governor of the southern province of Sindh after
Sharif's government was overthrown in a bloodless coup by then military
chief General Pervez Musharraf in October 1999.
Political analysts said Hussain was picked for the highest position
because of his loyalty to Sharif during the difficult time when Musharraf
dismissed Sharif and sent him into exile in 1999.
It is believed that Sharif also chose Hussain as he wanted to dispel the
impression that his PML-N was only a party of Punjab, the country's
Hussain's selection may be a move to gain political influence in Sindh, a
stronghold of the PPP.
Sharif has also sent a positive message to the Urdu-speaking and business
community in Karachi that he has chosen their representative for the
Sharif has already won praise when he offered the chief minister in the
restive southwestern province of Balochisran to another party despite his
PML-N's majority in the provincial assembly.
He also accepted the mandate of his political rival Pakistan
Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) party in the northwestern province of Khyber
Sharif's PML-N also succeeded in winning the votes of its political rival
the Mutahiad Qaumi Movement (MQM), a powerful group of the Urdu-speaking
community in Karachi.
MQM had been part of Pervez Mushharf's cabinet and the PPP's coalition
Despite boycott by the main opposition PPP and its allies, the
presidential election in the national parliament and the four provincial
assemblies was smooth.
The boycott reflected Pakistan' s traditional political polarization which
will cause some tensions in the future.
However, it is a positive sign that PPP president Makhdoom Amin Fahim said
his party had accepted Hussain as the Pakistani president despite the
Sharif will not have concern about misuse of the presidency by Hussain nor
face problem to get all legislation signed by the president.
The presidential election is another landmark development in Pakistan
after the May 11 general elections.
There was a smooth transition from one democratic government to another
for the first time in the country's 65-year history.
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