Monday June 17, 2024

Top military, political leaders meet at Zardari's swearing-in ceremony

Army Chief Gen Asim Munir briefly meets Nawaz, Bilawal at oath-taking ceremony

By Waqar Satti
March 10, 2024

In a rare instance, the top military and political leadership of the country gathered under one roof and engaged in brief conversation on the occasion of President Asif Ali Zardari's oath-taking ceremony.   

Zardari, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman, took an oath of office a day after he swept the presidential election with 441 electoral votes.

The rival candidate, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) nominee Mahmood Khan Achakzai could only manage to bag 181 electoral votes.

Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa administered the oath to President Zardari at the ceremony that took place at Awain-e-Sadar in Islamabad.

The attendees of the sweating-in event. — PPP Media Cell
The attendees of the sweating-in event. — PPP Media Cell

Top officials including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, all services chiefs including Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir, former president Arif Alvi, and diplomats among others attended the ceremony.

PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, elected representatives, and other political leaders were also present on the occasion.

Following the oath-taking, COAS Gen Munir congratulated Bilawal and Zardari on the PPP’s leader election as the president.

CJP Isa also held a conversation with Bilawal in the President's House lobby after the ceremony concluded.

Sarina Isa, the CJP’s spouse, was also among the participants.

— PPP Media Cell
— PPP Media Cell

Army Chief Gen Munir also shook hands with PPP chief Bilawal and former PM Nawaz and also met the two leaders briefly.

The guests were served with tea and pastries at the ceremony, while President Zardari and PM Shehbaz saw the guests off individually.

China, Iran felicitate Zardari on election

Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulated his Pakistani counterpart on his election as 14th head of the state, saying his country is "ready to work with" newly elected President Zardari.

In his message, President Xi said China and Pakistan are good neighbours, good friends, good partners and good brothers, adding that the two countries' iron-clad friendship is a choice of history and a precious treasure of the two peoples, reported state-run Xinhua.

Xi noted that the two countries have in recent years maintained close high-level exchanges, supported each other on issues concerning their respective core interests and major concerns, achieved fruitful results in the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, and maintained a high level of development of bilateral relations.

In a congratulatory message, Iranian President Ebrahim Raeesi expressed hope that during Zardari's presidency, the relations between the two countries, having historical, cultural and religious history, will be more developed and deepened than before.

“As always, and especially in the new era, the Islamic Republic of Iran declares its readiness to expand relations with the Islamic Republic of Pakistan," the state-run APP quoted the Iranian president as saying.