Islamabad: Pakistan’s newly-elected President Dr Arif Alvi shares an interesting connection with India as his father was a dentist to India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, according to the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.
Alvi, 69, a close ally of Prime Minister Imran Khan and one of the founding members of the PTI, was elected as the new President of Pakistan Tuesday.
The former dentist defeated Pakistan Peoples Party candidate Aitzaz Ahsan and the Pakistan Muslim League-N nominee Maulana Fazl ur Rehman in a three-way contest to become the 13th president.
Being a son of Nehru’s dentist is not the only connection that Alvi has with India. He is yet another President whose family migrated to Pakistan from India after partition. His predecessors Mamnoon Hussain’s family came from Agra and Pervez Musharraf’s parents migrated from New Delhi.
Alvi’s father Dr Habib ur Rehman Elahi Alvi was a dentist to Nehru before partition, according to short biography of the new president on the website of the ruling PTI party.
“Dr Elahi Alvi was a dentist to Jawaharlal Nehru and the family has letters from Mr Nehru to Dr Alvi in their possession,” according to the website.
President Alvi, whose full name is Dr Arif ur Rehman Alvi, was born in Karachi in 1949 where his father settled after partition.
He inherited the profession of a dentist from his father who practised dentistry in India before partition and opened a dental practice in Saddar, Karachi after migration.
His father, who was also connected with the Jinnah family, was made a Trustee of the trust established by Shirinbai Jinnah (Jinnah’s siter) to which she gift all her worldly belongings including the Mohatta Palace in Karachi.
Alvi started his political career about five decades ago when he was a student of de’Montmonrency College of Dentistry, an affiliate of University of Punjab in Lahore. He was part of the students’ wing of Jamaat-i-Islami (JIH) and protested against military ruler Ayub Khan.
“During one of the protests on the Mall Road in Lahore, he was shot at and wounded, and still proudly carries a bullet embedded in his right arm as a mark of his struggle for democracy in Pakistan,” according to the PTI website.
He participated in elections from the JIH in 1979 but lost. Later he became disillusioned with the politics of the JIH and joined the PTI as one of its founding members in 1996. He also helped in writing the Constitution of the new party.
Alvi contested his first election for the PTI in 1997 but lost. His affiliation with the party continued and he steadily rose in its ranks.
He was the Secretary-General of the party from 2006 till 2013. In 2013 he was elected as a Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan from Constituency NA-250 Karachi and was re-elected in July 2018.
Apart from his political struggle, Alvi is also a professional dentist.
He acquired his dental degree BDS (Dentistry) from de’Montmonrency College of Dentistry and Master of Science degree in Prosthodontics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1975 and Master of Science in Orthodontics in 1984 from University of the Pacific, San Francisco.
In 1997, Alvi was declared a Diplomat of the American Board of Orthodontics. He was the primary author of the constitution of the Pakistan Dental Association and has been elected the President of the Pakistan Dental Association.
The new President is married with Samina Alvi and the couple have four children.