Pakistan president Dr Arif Alvi was a dentist to India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, according to a short biography of him on the website of his party, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).
“Dr Elahi Alvi was a dentist to Jawaharlal Nehru and the family has letters from Mr Nehru to Dr Alvi in their possession,” according to the website.
Alvi, 69, is a close ally of prime minister Imran Khan and he is also one of the founding members of PTI.
Interestingly, being the son of Nehru’s dentist is not the only connection Alvi has with India. Similar to his predecessors, Alvi’s family too migrated to Pakistan from India after partition.
Former Pakistan presidents Mamnoon Hussain’s family came from Agra and Pervez Musharraf’s parents migrated from New Delhi.
Alvi’s family settled in Karachi after partition, and like his father, he too became a dentist. It was during his student days in de’Montmonrency College of Dentistry, an affiliate of the University of Punjab in Lahore, that Alvi first entered politics. He was part of the students’ wing of Jamaat-i-Islami and protested against military ruler Ayub Khan.
“During one of the protests on the Mall Road in Lahore, he was shot and wounded and still proudly carries a bullet embedded in his right arm as a mark of his struggle for democracy in Pakistan,” according to the PTI website.
In 1996, Alvi joined PTI as its founding member and he helped write the constitution of the new party.
On Sunday (9), Alvi was sworn in at a ceremony in Islamabad, concluding the country’s peaceful transfer of power to its new government after a turbulent election campaign.
He swore to “bear true faith and allegiance to Pakistan” and to carry out his duties “in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well-being and prosperity of Pakistan.”