PTI’s Alvi elected 13th president of Pakistan

Newly elected president of Pakistan Arif Alvi flashes the victory sign on his arrival before the presidential election at the National Assembly in Islamabad on Sept. 4, 2018. (FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP)
Updated 04 September 2018

PTI’s Alvi elected 13th president of Pakistan

  • Victorious candidate faced two other contenders, Aitzaz Ahsan and Maulana Fazlur Rehman
  • Alvi received 352 votes from 706 in electoral college’s secret ballot

ISLAMABAD: Dr. Arif Alvi, the Pakistan ruling coalition candidate, was chosen as the republic’s 13th president on Tuesday, five days before incumbent President Mamnoon Hussain’s term expires.
Alvi was elected in a secret ballot carried out by the country’s electoral college consisting of the Senate, National Assembly and four provincial assemblies. 
“I am the president of the entire nation and all parties from today, not just the president nominated by the PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf),” the president-elect said. “Each party has an equal right on me.”
Alvi is expected to take the oath of office on Sept. 9.
Speaking to the media after the announcement, Alvi thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan for trusting him to take up the “big responsibility.” 
The Election Commission of Pakistan will announce the official results on Wednesday. However, a preliminary vote count showed a “clear majority” in favor of the PTI co-founder and parliamentarian who is believed to have received 352 of the 706 votes cast.

Alvi’s victory was tipped ahead of the presidential election by political observers following signs of a rift between Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the joint opposition.
The party of jailed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif backed Maulana Fazlur Rehman while the PPP went ahead with lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan as its candidate. This failure to reach a consensus and nominate a single candidate weakened any power the opposition alliance may have had.

“Alvi’s election shows that PTI and its allies stand united and on the same page, while the opposition has not yet recovered from its electoral defeat,” said political analyst Umar Kareem.

Lt. Gen. (retd.) Talat Masood dubbed the Sindh-based PPP as “the opposition within the opposition.”

Speaking to Arab News, he said that the “PPP’s move (to elect a separate candidate) while masquerading as the opposition crippled the prospects of the alliance having their candidate elected.”

TV anchor and analyst Ahmed Qureshi said: “Alvi’s triumph confirms PTI’s political dominance in Pakistan established after the 2018 electoral win.

“It confirms that the opposition, especially Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz) has lost the ability to rock the boat for PTI. And, lastly, it means that an educated, middle-class Pakistani citizen can rise to the top in Pakistan after decades of rule by feudal politicians,” said Qureshi.
PPP had pitched senior Supreme Court advocate and veteran lawmaker Aitzaz Ahsan, a well-respected politician, as its nominee. He reportedly received a collective 132 votes, leading only in the Sindh Assembly against Alvi and Rehman.
Maulana Fazlur Rehman, president of the five religious party alliance and chief of his own party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl, who has been elected several times as a member of Pakistan’s National Assembly since the late 1980s, failed to secure over 160 votes.
Ahsan was ineligible to vote as he is not a member of Senate, while Rehman could not vote because he is neither a member of Parliament nor the Provincial Assembly.
Islamabad-based strategic and political analyst Yasir Mehmood said: “This reaffirms a monumental victory for the PTI, a party that has defeated the dynastic and the status quo — two parties that dominated politics in Pakistan (PPP and PML-N). 
“The opposition should put aside their differences, respect and accept the institutional strength of the Parliament to ensure the smooth functioning of democratic norms,” Mehmood told Arab News.
Analysts believe that Alvi is likely to take a proactive approach in his new role, a post that is largely ceremonial.

Pompeo: Anti-Daesh coalition should shift focus to Africa

Updated 29 min 19 sec ago

Pompeo: Anti-Daesh coalition should shift focus to Africa

  • Pompeo urged members of the coalition fighting against Daesh to take extremist detainees back to their countries
  • He vowed that the United States will keep fighting the extremist group

LONDON: There is growing concern about the Daesh threat outside of Iraq and Syria, and the coalition fighting the terrorist organization should focus on west Africa and the Sahel region, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday.

Pompeo also urged members of the coalition fighting against Daesh to take extremist detainees back to their countries and step up their funding to help restore infrastructure in Iraq and Syria, parts of which have been severely damaged by conflict.

"Coalition members must take back the thousands of foreign terrorist fighters in custody, and impose accountability for the atrocities they have perpetrated," Pompeo said at the opening of a meeting of foreign ministers from the global coalition to defeat Daesh.
Pompeo vowed that the United States will keep fighting the extremist group, and reassured worried allies convened in Washington.
"The United States will continue to lead the coalition and the world on this essential security effort," Pompeo said as he opened a day of talks in Washington.

Daesh has lost almost all of its territory in Iraq and Syria. Former leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was killed in a US raid last month, but the militant group remains a security threat in Syria and beyond.
Some 10,000 Daesh detainees and tens of thousands of family members remain in camps and prisons in northeastern Syria guarded by the Syrian Kurdish allies of the United States. Washington is pushing European countries to take their citizens back, but so far they have been reluctant to do so.