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.

Interpol warns of ‘alarming’ cybercrime rate during pandemic

Updated 8 min 56 sec ago

Interpol warns of ‘alarming’ cybercrime rate during pandemic

  • Cybercriminals are increasingly using disruptive malware against critical infrastructure and health care institutions
  • There was also an increase in the spread of fake news and misinformation which sometimes itself conceals malware

LYON: Global police body Interpol warned Monday of an “alarming” rate of cybercrime during the coronavirus pandemic, with criminals taking advantage of people working from home to target major institutions.
An assessment by the Lyon-based organization found a “significant target shift” by criminals from individuals and small businesses to major corporations, governments and critical infrastructure.
“Cybercriminals are developing and boosting their attacks at an alarming pace, exploiting the fear and uncertainty caused by the unstable social and economic situation created by COVID-19,” said Interpol Secretary General Juergen Stock.
“The increased online dependency for people around the world is also creating new opportunities, with many businesses and individuals not ensuring their cyberdefenses are up to date,” he added.
The report said cybercriminals were sending COVID-19 themed phishing emails — which seek to obtain confidential data from users — often impersonating government and health authorities.
Cybercriminals are increasingly using disruptive malware against critical infrastructure and health care institutions, it added.
In the first two weeks of April 2020, there was a rise in ramsomware attacks, in which users have to pay money to get their computer to work again.
There was also an increase in the spread of fake news and misinformation which sometimes itself conceals malware, said Interpol.
From January to April, some 907,000 spam messages, 737 incidents related to malware and 48,000 malicious URLs — all related to COVID-19 were detected by one of Interpol’s private sector partners, it said.
The agency warned the trend was set to continue and a “further increase in cybercrime is highly likely in the near future.”
“Vulnerabilities related to working from home and the potential for increased financial benefit will see cybercriminals continue to ramp up their activities and develop more advanced and sophisticated” methods, it said.
Once a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, Interpol said, “it is highly probable that there will be another spike in phishing related to these medical products as well as network intrusion and cyberattacks to steal data.”