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India-born Mamnoon Hussain elected Pakistan President

Islamabad, July 31 (): India-born Mamnoon Hussain, a close aide of Prime Minister Nawqaz Sharif, was elected as the 12th President of Pakistan and will replace the incumbent Asif Ali Zardari in September.

Mamnoon Hussain, the India-born nominee of ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has won the elections for the 12th President in the one-on-one contest with ex-judge Wajihuddin Ahmad of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf party.

The polling began at 10.00 a.m. with strict security arrangements at the National Assembly, the four provincial assemblies and the Senate. The voting continued without any break till 3.00 p.m.

Over 1,000 members of the national parliament and four provincial assemblies cast their ballots for the ceremonial head of the state. Finally, Hussain emerged as a clear winner.

Addressing a press conference after vote count, the Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd) Fakhruddin G Ibrahim said Hussain secured 432 electoral votes from Parliament, Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies, while his opponent PTI candidate Justice (retd) Wajihuddin Ahmed secured 77 electoral votes.

State media reports said Hussain won 277 out 311 votes in parliament, thus giving him a decisive victory over his challenger. According to the breakup of votes, Mamnoon Hussain clinched 54.14 from Punjab Assembly, 24.76 from Sindh Assembly, 21.49 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and 55 from Balochistan Assembly.

At the same time, Justice (retd) Wajihuddin Ahmed clinched 34 votes from Parliament; 4 from Punjab Assembly; 1.9 from Sindh Assembly; 36.17 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and 01 from Balochistan Assembly.

Hussain, born in the historic city of Agra, belongs to the Urdu-speaking ethnic group that migrated from India during partition in 1947.

Hussain will replace Asif Ali Zardari, whose five-year term ends on September 8. Zardari rose to power after his wife, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, was killed in a gun and bomb attack in December 2007.

The office of the president is ceremonial in Pakistan but he is still the constitutional chief of the armed forces. Though he cannot order deployments, he appoints the services chiefs through the recommendation of the prime minister.