LAHORE Newly-elected President Dr Arif Alvi suffered defeat in the first general election of his life at the hands of PML-N’s Salim Zia from a provincial seat in the 1997 polls.
Dr Arif Alvi, who on Tuesday emerged victorious in the presidential elections while defeating two noted figures of Pakistani politics, including Chief of his own faction of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Maulana Fazlur Rehman and PPP’s Barrister Aitzaz Ahsen, has a disappointing start to his political career like his leader Imran Khan.
However, his victory in the 2013 and 2018 general elections on the National Assembly seat eventually brought him in the list of VVIPs when, owing to his close relationship with Imran, he was chosen as the candidate for the slot of President and he eventually carried the day.
Dr Arif Alvi, one of the pioneer members of PTI was fielded by Imran Khan from PS-89, Karachi South in the 1997 general elections. In that contest, it was PML-N’s Salim Zia who emerged victorious and got elected as MPA while securing 13,636 votes followed by MQM backed Captain (R) Syed Muhammad Ali who got 9,782 votes.
The PTI candidate Dr Arif Alvi in that contest stood at number three and got only 2,200 votes. No body would have expected than Arif Alvi, with this performance at the electorate would one day get elected as President of Pakistan. In the 2002 general elections, Dr Arif Alvi suffered another defeat when he stood at number 6 position while contesting from PS-90 that was won by Muttehida Majlis-e- Amal’s Umer Sadiq who got 10,003 votes followed by MQM’s Dr Muhammad Ali Brohi who got 8,615 votes. The PPP candidate Nadim Bhutto got 7,784 votes whereas an independent candidate Muhammad Ali stood at number 4 with 3,684 votes followed by Azam Lohani of PML-N who got 1,723 votes. Arif Alvi was at the 6th position in the contest in which 24 candidates were in the run, got only 1,276 votes. The PTI boycotted the 2008 general elections and first major breakthrough in the political career of Dr Alvi came in 2013 when he got elected as MNA from Karachi, the only NA seat won by PTI in the largest city of Pakistan where it clinched three provincial seats as well that year. Dr Arif Alvi emerged victorious while getting 77,659 votes and defeated MQM’s Khushbakht Shujaat who got 30,365 votes and former District Nazim Karachi Naimat Ullah Khan who stood at number three with 11,698 votes.
Arif Alvi remained a key player in the negotiation process between the government and the opposition during the 2014 sit-in of Islamabad that continued for 126 days.
In the 2018 general elections, he was once again fielded by PTI from the same seat that under fresh delimitations had become NA-247 which he also won comfortably while defeating MQM Pakistan’s head Dr Farooq Sattar.