KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) on Friday officially announced its "unconditional support" for ruling party Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) candidate in the upcoming presidential elections.
“The leader of the party, Altaf Hussain, has announced unconditional support to Mamnoon Hussain, the PML-N’s nominee for the presidential election,” MQM leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqi told a press conference at the party's 'Nine-Zero' headquarters at Azizabad.
Accompanied by a delegation of the PML-N in Karachi, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar also formally invited the MQM, the largest political party in Karachi, to join them in the PML-N-led federal coalition government.
Thanking the PML-N for the invitation, Siddiqi said the offer would be discussed with the party's senior leadership.
The PML-N delegation, comprising the finance minister, presidential candidate Mamnoon Hussain, and Information Minister Pervez Rasheed, first called on Governor Sindh Dr Ishratul Ibad at the Governor House in Karachi.
Sources said that the Sindh governor spoke with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over telephone.
The PML-N delegation later visited 'Nine-Zero' where they met with members of the party's Rabita Committee (central coordination committee).
“If elected, I will try to ensure that I do not serve as the president of the PML-N, but a president for all political parties,” Mamnoon Hussain told a press conference following the meeting. “I will also pay special attention to Karachi for a viable solution to the problems of the city.”
Meanwhile, the ruling party in Sindh province, the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) has announced that it will boycott the presidential elections, set to take place on July 30 following the announcement of final candidates by the Election Commission on July 27.
PPP candidate Raza Rabbani pulled out of the race at the last minute in protest of the revision of the election date from Aug 6 to July 30, following a decision by the Supreme Court on a petition by the ruling party.
The nomination papers of Mamnoon Hussain and Iqbal Zafar Jhagra of PML-N and Justice (Retd) Wajihuddin Ahmad of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) were accepted on Friday.
According to the Constitution, the president will be chosen for five years by an electoral college of 706 lawmakers, including 104 senators and 342 members of the National Assembly and 260 of the provincial assemblies.
50 seats of the national and provincial assemblies are currently vacant, by-polls for which are scheduled for August 22, almost a month after the election of the new president.