From the dentist’s office to President House: Dr Arif Alvi becomes Pakistan’s 13th president

PTI’s Dr Arif Alvi was elected the 13th president of Pakistan on Tuesday.

The country’s new president is a politician, dentist and parliamentarian. He has been described as the “chief whip of the PTI” in his profile on the party’s website.

Born in Karachi on July 29, 1949, Dr Alvi acquired a degree in dentistry from de’Montmonrency College of Dentistry, an affiliate of the University of Punjab, and then completed his master’s in prosthodontics (fixing or replacing teeth ) and orthodontics (straightening teeth to improve alignment).

He was the first Pakistani to specialise in orthodontics, according to the PTI’s website.

In 1995, Dr Alvi was certified by the Diplomate American Board of Orthodontists and became the only Pakistani or SAARC dentist to have achieved this level of qualification.

Dr Alvi, who is one of the founding members of the PTI, started his political career as the president of the student union at de’Montmonrency College of Dentistry in Lahore, Pakistan.

He was an active member of the student movements of the Jamaat-e-Islami which occurred during the tenure of General Ayub Khan. Dr Alvi was shot twice during one of the protests on Lahore’s Mall Road at the time. One of the bullets is still embedded in his right arms, which he proudly carries as a mark of his struggle for democracy.

When Imran Khan started the PTI in in 1996, Dr Alvi joined him and began his long career with the PTI.
He contested the 1997 election for the Sindh Assembly PS-89 seat but lost to PML-N candidate Saleem Zia. In the same year, he was appointed the party’s Sindh chapter president.

In 2002 he lost the election on PS-90 to the MMA’s Umar Sadiq. Despite losing, he was made the party’s secretary general in 2006, a post he served on till 2013.

In 2013 he was elected to the National Assembly from NA-250, beating the MQM’s Khushbakht Shujaat. He was appointed the PTI’s Sindh president again in 2016.

During the General Election 2018, he was victorious from Karachi’s NA-247. While campaigning for the elections, he drove a rickshaw in Karachi and garnered attention on social media.

The father of four, who is married to Samina Alvi, is the son of Dr Habibur Rehman Elahi Alvi, the dentist of Jawaharlal Nehru. His father migrated to Pakistan in 1947 and operated a dental clinic in Saddar, Karachi. According to Dr Alvi’s son Awab, his grandfather was a member of the JI and was very close to the party’s then head Syed Munawar Hussain.

Prime Minister Imran Khan nominated Dr Alvi as president on August 18, two days after taking oath as the country’s premier.

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