Dr Arif Alvi, Pakistan’s new President, has an India connection

Pakistan’s newly elected President Dr Arif Alvi has an interesting India connection. His father, Dr Habib ur Rehman Elahi Alvi, was a dentist to India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, according to the short biography of the President on the website of his Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf party.

Alvi, a founding member of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, was elected as the new President of Pakistan on Tuesday.

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The 69-year-old former dentist defeated Pakistan Peoples Party candidate Aitzaz Ahsan and the Pakistan Muslim League-N nominee Maulana Fazl ur Rehman in a three-way contest to become the 13th president of the country.

Besides the Nehru connection, Alvi’s family migrated to Pakistan from India after partition.

“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.

Dr Arif ur Rehman Alvi, was born in Karachi in 1947 where his father settled after partition. He inherited the profession of a dentist from his father who practised dentistry in India before partition and opened a dental practice in Saddar, Karachi after migration.

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Alvi started his political career about five decades ago when he was a student of de’Montmonrency College of Dentistry, an affiliate of University of Punjab in Lahore. 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.

He also participated in elections from the platform of Jamaat-i-Islami in 1979 but lost. Later he became disillusioned with the politics of Jamaat-i-Islami and joined PTI as its founding member in 1996. He also helped in writing the Constitution of the new party.

He was the Secretary-General of the party from 2006 till 2013. In 2013 he was elected as a Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan from Constituency NA-250 Karachi and was re-elected in July 2018.

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