Dr Arif Alvi was sworn in as the 13th President of Pakistan at a ceremony at Aiwan-i-Sadr in Islamabad on Sunday, a day after outgoing president Mamnoon Hussain’s five-year term ended.
The ceremony, which began after 1pm, commenced with the playing of the national anthem, followed by a recitation from the Holy Quran.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar administered oath to Alvi, a senior Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader who was elected to the National Assembly from Karachi’s NA-247 constituency during the July 25 polls.
As per the 1973 Constitution, Alvi’s election to the NA seat will stand null and void once he takes oath as President of Pakistan, since an elected member of Parliament cannot hold the office of head of state.
Top civil and military leadership, including members of the federal cabinet, the three services chiefs, parliamentarians, justices of the Supreme Court, diplomats and other well-known personalities and foreign officials were in attendance at the ceremony.
Among them were Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, NA Speaker Asad Qaiser, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Shah, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, Chief of Naval Staff Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Zubair Hayat.
A beaming Alvi clad in a black sherwani walked into the ceremony hall accompanied by CJP Nisar. Prime Minister Imran Khan and outgoing president Mamnoon Hussain flanked Alvi and Justice Nisar at the dais as the oath was administered.
After Alvi took oath, the national anthem was played a second time. It was then directed that Alvi’s swearing in as president be notified in the Gazette.
Later in the day, the Cabinet Secretariat issued the Gazette notification saying that Alvi had “assumed the office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan” on Sept 9.
In the evening, after the swearing-in ceremony concluded, Alvi was presented a guard of honour by contingents from Pakistan’s armed forces.
Who is Arif Alvi?
Dr Alvi’s career in politics spans over five decades and began with his role in student politics as a president of the student union at de’Montmorency College of Dentistry in Lahore.
Alvi was part of the student movement of 1969 during Gen Ayub Khan’s military regime and, as his party men say, was among those who fought for democracy in the country.
For the first time, Arif Alvi emerged as an election candidate in 1977 when he secured a Pakistan National Alliance ticket for a Sindh Assembly seat for Karachi. However, he did not take part in the elections as they were boycotted by the opposition parties.
Born in 1949 and a dentist by profession, Dr 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.
Dr Alvi ran in the 1997 elections from, now erstwhile, PS-114 (Clifton Karachi) but could secure only 2,000 plus votes. He contested from another constituency — PS-90 (Karachi West) — in the 2002 elections but received fewer votes (1,276) than his previous tally.
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.
Alvi, who was up against PPP’s Aitzaz Ahsan and JUI-F’s Maulana Fazlur Rehman for the post of president last week, won the election with at least 352 electoral votes ─ 44 more than his two rivals could collectively obtain. Fazl and Ahsan clinched 185 and 124 votes respectively.