Islamabad: Dr Arif Alvi, a close ally of Prime Minister Imran Khan and one of the founding members of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, was sworn in as Pakistan’s new president Sunday.
The 69-year-old dentist was administered the oath of office as Pakistan’s 13th President by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar at a simple ceremony held at the Aiwan-e-Sadr (the President House) here.
His predecessor President Mamnoon Hussain left the President House at completion of his five-year term on Saturday.
The oath-taking ceremony was attended by top civil-military brass including Prime Minister Khan and Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and foreign diplomats.
Dr Alvi had defeated Pakistan Peoples Party candidate Aitzaz Ahsan and the Pakistan Muslim League-N nominee Maulana Fazl ur Rehman in a three-way presidential contest.
Alvi was active in the student movement during Field Marshal Ayub Khan’s era in 1969. He was shot during a protest in Lahore and proudly carries a bullet in his right arm.
In 1979, he was a Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) candidate for the provincial assembly but elections did not take place.
Alvi is one of the founding members of PTI. He served as PTI secretary general from 2006 to 2013.
He won the National Assembly elections from NA-247 (Karachi) during the July 25 polls. He was also elected member of the National Assembly in the 2013 general election.
In Pakistan, the President is considered as a symbol of the federation and head of the state and exercises all powers on the recommendations of the prime minister.
With his close ally Alvi as President, Khan can smoothly implement his agenda, according to observers.
Alvi was among more than 100 candidates who were fielded by the PTI in the 1997 elections. All the aspirants, including Imran Khan, lost, most of them to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.
For a long time, Dr Alvi has remained the only known face of the party in Sindh as he dedicated his time, house and money for the party.
According to the PTI’s official website, he is one of its founding members and was the party’s secretary general from 2006 till 2013.
For the first time, he was elected a member of the National Assembly from the erstwhile Clifton constituency NA-250 (now NA-247) in the 2013 polls, which was the only NA seat won by the party in Sindh.
He was re-elected to the National Assembly from the same Clifton constituency now called NA-247 (Karachi South-II) in the July 25 general election.