Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Dr Arif Alvi flashes the victory sign upon arrival at Parliament House for presidential election. Image Credit: Online

Islamabad: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate Dr Arif Alvi emerged as the winning candidate in Tuesday’s presidential election becoming the 13th President of the country.

According to unofficial results, Alvi received 320 electoral votes, Fazlur Rahman 159 and Aitzaz Ahsan 120. Results from the Punjab Assembly are awaited.

Federal and provincial legislatures had turned into Electoral Colleges where members of the respective assemblies and the Senate of Pakistan cast their votes.

Alvi was the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) candidate and was contested by PML-N and other opposition parties — MMA leader Maulana Fazlur Rahman and PPP’s Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan.

It is now clear after Tuesday’s face off between the ruling and divided opposition’s candidates that it would have been tighter had there been a united opposition candidate instead of the two against PTI’s candidate.

However, the PPP, PML-N and other parties failed to overcome their differences and gave Alvi an easy victory. He will replace PML-N’s Mamnoon Hussain, whose five-year term as president ends on September 9.

Alvi told reporters he was “thankful to God”, and vowed to be a president for all of Pakistan. TV footage showed him shaking hands with parliamentarians after the vote, with many handing him sweets in celebration.

Pakistani presidents wielded more power until President Asif Ali Zardari, the husband of assassinated premier Benazir Bhutto, took office in 2008 and devolved most of his powers to his prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

Political analyst Sohail Warraich said the president’s role is now to act as a bridge between the federal government and the provinces, adding that Alvi’s status as a member of middle-class Pakistan would endear him further to prime minister Imran Khan.

Alvi, a father of four and an active Twitter user, 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.

He studied at the University of Michigan and the University of the Pacific in San Francisco, as well as in Lahore, before making a career as a dentist and then entering politics.

He served as PTI’s secretary general for eight years from 2006, and was elected an MP in the southern megacity of Karachi in 2013, winning re-election in the July vote.

According to details, out of 430 votes cast in the National Assembly and Senate, PTI’s Alvi received 212 votes, JUI-F’s Rehman bagged 131 and PPP’s Ahsan garnered 81; six votes were rejected.

— with inputs from AFP