• Saturday, April 20, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Asif Ali Zardari sworn in as Pakistan President

This is the second time Asif Ali Zardari has won the presidency. He was the 11th president of Pakistan from 2008 to 2013

Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa, administers the oath of the office of the President of Pakistan to Asif Ali Zardari, at the Presidential Palace in Islamabad, Pakistan March 10, 2024. Press Information Department (PID)/Handout via REUTERS

By: Shajil Kumar

Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday took oath as Pakistan’s 14th President, a day after the veteran politician was overwhelmingly elected as the next head of state.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa administered the oath to the 68-year-old Zardari at Aiwan-e-Sadr, the Presidential Palace.

Zardari will replace Dr Arif Alvi, who stayed in office for five more months despite completing his five-year term in September 2023.

The swearing-in ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, all three service chiefs, senior officials and diplomats.

Zardari, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman, the joint candidate of the ruling alliance, was elected as the country’s president for the second time on Saturday after he defeated PTI-backed Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) candidate Mahmood Khan Achakzai by a huge margin.

He secured 411 electoral votes in Parliament and all four provincial assemblies with the backing of allied parties — mainly Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P).

His rival, Achakzai bagged 181 votes as he could only secure the majority of votes in the PTI-backed SIC-dominated Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.

This is the second time Zardari has won the presidency. He was the 11th president of Pakistan from 2008 to 2013 and has been a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan since August 2018.

Born in 1955, Zardari was brought up and educated in Karachi. He was married to Pakistan’s former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s daughter, Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in December 2007.

Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday congratulated Asif Ali Zardari on his election as the Pakistan President, saying that the “iron-clad friendship” between the two countries is a “choice of history” and the “strategic significance” of the ties has become more “prominent” in the light of current changes in the world. (PTI)

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