Democracy flourishing in Pakistan: Bajwa
Dr. Arif ur Rehman Alvi on Sunday took oath of office of President of Pakistan for a five-year term, completing final phase of change of government and allowing the PTI to focus on its ambitious 100-day ‘Naya Pakistan’ plan. Chief Justice of Pakistan 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.
Prime Minister Imran Khan and outgoing president Mamnoon Hussain flanked Alvi and Justice Nisar at the dias as the oath was administered.
The Cabinet Secretariat issued a notification to be published in the Gazette of Pakistan saying that Alvi had “assumed the office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan” on Sept 9.
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.
The oath ceremoney was attended by by top civil-military brass including Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Gen Zubair Hayat, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser, Finance Minister Asad Umer, President Azad Jammu and Kashmir Sardar Masood Khan, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry, Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Governor Sindh Imran Ismail, Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar and Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid. Saudi, Chinese diplomats also attended the presidential oath.
The ceremony began with the usual playing of the national anthem, however the pleasant surprise came when the large gathering softly sang the lyrics in sync with the military band. It was followed by recitation of the last verse of Surah Bakra from the Holy Quran. The Chief Justice administered the oath of office to the new President in Urdu.
The oath documents were signed; national anthem played again and order of the assuming of the office of the President read out.
The President’s oath taking again was a jam packed event at the President House, after the swearing in of Imran Khan as the Prime Minister on August 18. Additional chairs had to be placed to accommodate the guests.
Dr. Alvi, a dentist by profession and one of the founder members of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was elected to the office of President after securing 352 votes from the electoral college comprising both houses of the parliament and provincial assemblies in the presidential elections held on September 4.
Founding member of the ruling PTI, Alvi began his political career as a student union president in Lahore and is one of the few original authors of the PTI’s constitution.
A dentist by profession, Alvi was the first Pakistani to be elected as a councillor of the World Dental Federation in 2007. He is the managing trustee of the trust established by Shirinbai Jinnah.
Meanwhile, Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa Sunday said democracy was flourishing in the country and would continue to get stronger with time.
“Democracy is very much flourishing and will flourish in future too,” the Army Chief said at the oath-taking ceremony of newly elected President Dr Arif Alvi here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.
When sought his comments on the swearing-in of the new head of the State, General Bajwa termed it a “significant and wonderful moment” for the continuity of the democratic process.