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September 10, 2018

Democracy to flourish further: COAS

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September 10, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Sunday said that democracy is flourishing in the country and would continue to get stronger with time.

“Democracy is very much flourishing and will flourish in future too,” the COAS said this at the oath-taking ceremony of newly-elected President Dr Arif Alvi here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.

When his comments were sought on the swearing-in of the new head of state, General Bajwa termed it a “significant and wonderful moment” for the continuity of the democratic process.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s new President Arif 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. Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar administered the oath to Dr Arif Alvi.

Arif Alvi, a close ally of Prime Minister Imran Khan and one of the founders of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), becomes Pakistan's 13th president, replacing Mamnoon Hussain. A vote this week saw him elected by more than a thousand lawmakers from both houses of parliament and the four provincial assemblies.

Imran Khan and his cabinet attended the ceremony led by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, along with armed forces chiefs and senior Islamabad-based diplomats.

Alvi 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."

A former dentist, Alvi has been a key confidante of Imran Khan on both party and national issues. He served as the PTI's secretary general for eight years from 2006, and was elected an MP in Karachi in 2013, winning re-election in the July vote.

A father of four and enthusiastic Twitter user, Alvi was shot and wounded during a protest against military dictator Ayub Khan in Lahore in 1969. He still has a bullet embedded in his right arm.

The election of the PTI marks the end of decades of rotating leadership between the ousted Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

Pakistani presidents wielded greater power before 2008, when President Asif Ali Zardari, the husband of assassinated premier Benazir Bhutto, took office and devolved most of his powers to prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani.

The United States and the American people congratulated Dr Arif Alvi on his swearing-in as the new President of Pakistan. “The United States looks towards working with Pakistan to advance our shared interests, such as regional peace, stability, and prosperity," said Heather Nauert, the Spokesperson for the US State Department, in a statement.President Dr Arif Alvi, while underlining the significance of China in Pakistan’s foreign policy, said that he looked forward to strengthening the strategic partnership between Pakistan and China in all areas.

The president said this in a meeting with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi who called on him at the Aiwan-e-Sadr here. The Chinese State Councilor led a high-level delegation, including three ministerial level officials. The foreign minister congratulated the president on his assumption of office and conveyed the good wishes of the Chinese leadership for the new government. He said that he was honoured to be the first to have a meeting with the president immediately after his oath-taking ceremony.

The president thanked Wang Yi for the message of goodwill from the Chinese leadership and reiterated the resolve to work with China to take the bilateral relationship to new heights during his tenure. Recognising the significance of CPEC for both the countries, President Arif Alvi re-affirmed the commitment of the government towards the implementation of the CPEC.

He also extended an invitation to President Xi Jinping to visit Pakistan at his earliest convenience.

Earlier, the Chinese State Councilor and foreign minister along with members of his delegation had attended the oath-taking ceremony of the president.

Meanwhile, President Dr Arif Alvi emphasised the need for regular exchange of cultural and media delegations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia as there existed vast opportunities for cooperation between the two fraternal countries in the fields of information, culture and tourism.

Information Minister of Saudi Arabia Dr Awwad Saleh al-Awwad, who is here on a goodwill visit, called on President Dr Arif Alvi at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.

The visiting dignitary conveyed felicitations and good wishes of the Saudi leadership and their desire to work closely with the new leadership in Pakistan and to forge closer ties between the two brotherly countries.

President Dr Arif Alvi welcomed the Saudi dignitary and expressed his deep appreciation for the warm message of felicitations by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz. He observed that the people of Pakistan had great regard for the bonds of love and respect with the Kingdom and its leadership, which had made this relationship very special. He expressed the hope that Dr Awwad’s visit would help further explore new avenues of bilateral cooperation.

The president conveyed his best wishes and greetings for King Salman Bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz. He also prayed for the continued peace, progress and prosperity for the people of the Kingdom.

Dr Awwad Saleh al-Awwad, on behalf of King Salman Bin Abdulaziz, invited the president of Pakistan to visit Saudi Arabia.

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