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Asif Ali Zardari, who spent 11 years in jail on graft charges, sworn in as Pakistan's 14th President

Zardari will replace Dr Arif Alvi, who stayed in office for five more months despite completing his five-year term in September 2023.

Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Islamabad Updated on: March 10, 2024 17:10 IST
Pakistan new president Asif Ali Zardari
Image Source : PTI Asif Ali Zardari

Islamabad: Asif Ali Zardari on Sunday took oath as Pakistan's 14th President, a day after the veteran politician was overwhelmingly elected as the next head of state. Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa administered the oath to the 68-year-old Zardari at Aiwan-e-Sadr, the Presidential Palace. Zardari will replace Dr Arif Alvi, who stayed in office for five more months despite completing his five-year term in September 2023.

The swearing-in ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, all three service chiefs, senior officials and diplomats.

Zardari, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman, the joint candidate of the ruling alliance, was elected as the country’s president for the second time on Saturday after he defeated PTI-backed Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) candidate Mahmood Khan Achakzai by a huge margin.

He secured 411 electoral votes in Parliament and all four provincial assemblies with the backing of allied parties — mainly Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P).

His rival, Achakzai bagged 181 votes as he was only able to secure the majority of votes in the PTI-backed SIC-dominated Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly. This is the second time Zardari has won the presidency. He earlier served as the 11th president of Pakistan from 2008 to 2013 and has been a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan since August 2018.

Who is Asif Ali Zardari

Born in 1955, Zardari was brought up and educated in Karachi. He was married to Pakistan's former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's daughter, Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in December 2007.

Zardari's greatest achievement during his first term was seen as the building of a rare political consensus on adopting a new legal and political framework to decentralise power and curb the presidential powers wielded by former military leaders. He took control of the PPP Party in line with the wishes expressed in his slain wife's will.

 

From the early 1990s to 2004, he spent 11 years in jail on graft charges, which were never proven in any court and that he and his party called military-backed political victimisation, a charge the army denies.

(With inputs from agency)

Also Read: 'Thank you Narendra Modi for...': Pakistan's Shehbaz Sharif on PM's congratulatory message

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