Pakistan elects a new president on Tuesday amid controversy over the date of polling, with the main opposition parties boycotting the event in protest.
Polling starts at 10 am in parliament as well as provincial assemblies with the man nominated by prime minister Nawaz Sharif being the favourite for the top job.
Mamnoon Hussain, a textile businessman from Karachi and a former governor of Sindh province, is expected to be elected by the PML-N party and its allies as the next president.
The opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has boycotted the elections on the grounds that not enough time was given according to the election schedule.
The original date for the polls was August 6, but the PML-N approached the Supreme Court to have it changed to July 30 on the grounds that the MPs would be unable to cast their votes in the final days of the month of Ramzan.
Presidential candidate for the PPP, Raza Rabbani, however, alleged that the date was changed to facilitate Sharif who plans to visit Saudi Arabia in the final days of Ramzan to perform Umrah and other religious rituals.
President Zardari had earlier indicated that he would not contest the elections.