The presidential character and intangibles of leadership: Hail to the new president – Dr Arif Alvi

The presidential character and intangibles of leadership: Hail to the new president – Dr Arif Alvi


Throughout history, leaders have played a major role in every religious community. They keep religious teachings alive in the hearts and minds of believers and motivate them to follow the true path. They are linchpins within the religious community.

Islam has also outlined the need for leaders. Allah says: “And let there be [arising] from you a nation inviting to [all that is] good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful” (3:104).

The above verse clearly defines functions of leadership. These functions necessitate certain inherent qualities like in-depth knowledge and awareness about the dynamics of the world, good and bad trends prevailing in society, commitment to world peace and devotion to the cause of religion etc. They claim no title, reward, remuneration or respect for rendering services, nor do they aspire to any official status. They are the people with Allah’s fear in their hearts, as mentioned in the Quran (35:28); they remain considerate, humble and peace-loving.

With leadership comes responsibilities. The present-day situation requires religious leaders to be more responsible. They have to guard themselves against demerits like arrogance, myopia and pettiness.

These are the list of qualities a Pakistani president should possess:

They are to provide values-based glue to hold communities together and provide common ground for peacemaking. They can bring sustainable peace in times of turmoil by highlighting the importance of peace-building — a process that prevents the recurrence of violence by addressing root causes.

True and honest religious leaders do not aspire for any political position.

Many of our present-day society’s problems such as extremism, sectarianism and radicalization etc. are the direct result of the actions of these false leaders.

True leaders are people-centric and remain away from the corridors of power.

A true leader does not flee in disorder nor avoids common people nor sits idle but is constantly engaged in the welfare of others. His mission demands sterling qualities to serve the public at large to the best of his abilities, even at the cost of his own comfort and interest. Their roles and responsibilities become magnified, particularly in times of crisis.

Muslim history is replete with examples of both types of leadership. Those who had practiced the art of deception with a claim of leadership are remembered only with contempt and scorn. Therefore, it is essential that one is incisive in order to differentiate between both sorts of leadership.

To steer clear of landmines, have a clear vision and solve intractable problems.

Warren Buffet said the secret of success is ‘500 pages every day’.

The burning ambition to achieve greatness and the passion to pursue it every living moment.

Perfect oratory and communication are a prerequisite to greatness. Oratory is knowing what’s in the deepest recesses of people’s soul and talking to them like it’s the sound of their soul.

A great political leader would be very sure who they are as a person, the capability to keep their core self-intact in political storms.

Presidentialism is securing the prosperity, freedom, and safety of their people by any means necessary.

A little bit of narcissism and ambition is alright as long it doesn’t cross over into sociopath. If Imran Khan exhibits narcissism, that’s because he firmly believes he is special.

Role of a president:

The presidency forms the vital institutional organ of state and is part of the bicameral Parliament.

Powers to exercise the authority are limited to the ceremonial figurehead, and required to address the Parliament to give a direction for national policies before being informed of its key decisions.

In addition, the President is also a civil commander-in-chief of the military, with Chairman joint chiefs being its chief military adviser to maintain the control of the military. After a thorough confirmation comes from the Prime Minister, the President confirms the judicial appointments in the national court system.

In addition, the Constitution allows the President to grant pardons, reprieves, and clemency in cases recommended to him by the executive and the judiciary. The President himself has absolute constitutional immunity from criminal and civil proceedings, and no proceedings can be initiated or continued against him during the term of his office.

Eligibility Criteria:

The Constitution of Pakistan sets the principle qualifications that the candidate must meet to be eligible to the office of the President. A President has to be:

  • A citizen of Pakistan.
  • A Muslim.
  • At least 45 years of age.
  • Qualified to be elected as member of the National Assembly

Line of succession and removal

The Constitution discusses the possibility of an acting president. Certain office-holders, however, are permitted to stand as Presidential candidates in case of vacancy as the constitution does not allow for a vice president:

  • The Chairman of the Senate of Pakistan
  • The Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan.

The President may be removed before the expiry of the term through impeachment. The President can be removed for violation of the Constitution of Pakistan.

Chronological list of Presidents with tenure

  1. Iskander Mirza (23 March 1956–27 October 1958)
  2. Ayub Khan (27 October 1958–25 March 1969)
  3. Yahya Khan (25 March 1969–20 December 1971)
  4. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (20 December 1971–13 August 1973)
  5. Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry14 August 1973–September 1978)
  6. Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq (16 September 1978–17 August 1988)
  7. Ghulam Ishaq Khan (17 August 1988–18 July 1993)
  8. Farooq Leghari (14 November 1993–2 December 1997)
  9. Rafiq Tarar (1 January 1998–21 June 2001)
  10. Pervez Musharraf (20 June 2001–18 August 2008)
  11. Asif Ali Zardari (9 September 2008–9 September 2013
  12. Mamnoon Hussain (9 September 2013–8 September 2018)
  13. Arif Alvi (9 September 2018-present)

Much about Pakistan’s new president Dr Arif Alvi:

Father of Pakistan’s newly elected President Dr Arif Alvi was a dentist to first Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

He was born on 29 July 1949 in Karachi, Pakistan. According to some sources, he was born on 29 August 1949 in Karachi and according to some sources, he was born in 1947 in Karachi.

Alvi began his political career as a polling agent, and joined a religious party.

While studying at De’Montmorency College of Dentistry, he became an active member of the student unions. He became politically affiliated with Islami Jamiat Talaba.

He began politically active after Zulfikar Ali Bhutto announced the Pakistani general election, 1977.

He ran for a seat of the Provincial Assembly of Sindh as a candidate of the JI from a constituency in Karachi in 1979 but was unsuccessful. In 1988, he quit JI and left politics.

After getting inspired by Imran Khan he joined Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in 1996 and became one of the founding members of party. He participated in preparing the party constitution of PTI.

He remained a member of the PTI central executive council for a year before becoming president of PTI’s Sindh chapter in 1997.

In 2001, he became vice president of PTI.

In 2006, he became secretary general of PTI, a position he served in until 2013.

He was elected to the National Assembly of Pakistan as a candidate of PTI from Constituency NA-250 (Karachi-XII) in Pakistani general election, 2013.

In 2016, he was made president of PTI Sindh chapter.

He was re-elected to the National Assembly as a candidate of PTI from Constituency NA-247 (Karachi South-II) in Pakistani general election, 2018

On 18 August 2018, he was nominated by PTI as its candidate for the office of President of Pakistan.
On 4 September 2018, he was elected as 13th President of Pakistan in Pakistani presidential election, 2018.

He received 353 votes and defeated Fazal-ur-Rehman and Aitzaz Ahsan who secured 185 and 124 votes, respectively. Upon getting elected as the President, Alvi thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan, and the political coalition for their support. He became the second dentist in the world to assume the office of a head a state or a government. The next day, he relinquished his National Assembly seat. Subsequently, the oath taking ceremony is due this week.



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Rava Desk

Rava is an online news portal providing recent news, editorials, opinions and advice on day to day happenings in Pakistan.


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