ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has confirmed that Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved the nomination of MNA from Karachi Dr Arif Alvi as the party’s candidate for the post of the country’s president.
Dr Alvi’s name as the next president has been in media circles for the past many days, but its formal confirmation came on Saturday when the PTI officially made a brief announcement that the party chairman had approved his nomination.
The Election Commission of Pakistan has already announced the schedule for the presidential election which will be held on Sept 4 — five days before the expiry of the five-year term of President Mamnoon Hussain. Dr Alvi — who is among the founding members of the PTI — is presently the president of the party’s Sindh chapter and has won the National Assembly seat (NA-247) from Karachi in the July 25 elections. He had also served as secretary general of the PTI. He had won the National Assembly election for the first time in 2013 from NA-250 Karachi.
A dentist by profession, Dr Alvi played an active role in parliament as a member of various committees, including the parliamentary committee on electoral reforms. He was also the convener of a sub-committee on electoral reforms and actively pursued the matter of granting the right of vote to overseas Pakistanis.
Talking to Dawn, Dr Alvi also confirmed that he had been informed by the party leadership about his nomination. He said he did not want to be a “showcase” president and would work for implementing the agenda of Imran Khan. Realising that the president under the Constitution is required to be impartial head of the state, Dr Alvi said there were a number of “non-political matters” where the president could play an active role. He said a lot of work was needed to be done in the fields of environment and water and that he would definitely make some contribution in this regard.
Under Article 41(4) of the Constitution, election to the office of the president is to be held not earlier than 30 days before expiry of the term of the president in office. “Provided that, if the election cannot be held within the period aforesaid because the National Assembly is dissolved, it shall be held within thirty days of the general election to the Assembly,” a proviso added to the Constitution reads.
The presidential election could not be held on time as the assemblies were dissolved and even after the general polls it was not possible to announce a schedule for the election before members of all the assemblies take the oath, as both houses of parliament and the provincial assemblies form the electoral college for presidential election and members from amongst them are to become proposer and seconder.
According to the schedule for presidential election, nomination papers can be filed by Aug 27 whereas the scrutiny of the papers will be done on Aug 29. Polling will be held from 10am to 4pm on Sept 4 at the Parliament House in Islamabad and provincial assemblies’ buildings in Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta.
Published in Dawn, August 19th, 2018