He loves to eat at dhabas, wants to move beyond Twitter to have a real connection with the people and has batted for a 24X7 depression helpline to assist those in need. Arif Alvi, the new president of Pakistan, is a dentist-turned-politician who has spent the last five years representing one of Karachi's poshest constituencies.
“This is not my victory alone but that of the downtrodden masses of Pakistan,'' he tweeted after his victory.
Alvi, who has also served as the chief whip of PTI, according to people who worked with him in the past, is someone who doesn't stand ceremony and is approachable. On Saturday, Alvi was spotted in Islamabad's Melody market, digging in to halwa puri and paye.
Unlike Donald Trump, who has grave doubts over climate change, Alvi is acquainted with its devastating effects. The water crisis looms large over his former constituency in Karachi. Even the rich and affluent in the area have to wait for 15 days for water to be supplied. This will be an area that Alvi is likely to focus on. His other passion projects are health and education.
The election of Alvi was a forgone conclusion. Yet, with People's Party of Pakistan pitting Aitzaz Ahsan against him, the signal was clear that they were not going down without a fight. Had the PPP joined hands with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Alvi might have had a tougher fight. But with PPP having abstained from the vote for PML-N' Shahbaz Sharif as prime minister, there was no possibility of the two coming together. The PML-N had also put up a nominee.
Ahsan, a well known lawyer, has a squeaky clean reputation like Alvi. He has been a senator and was the leader of opposition before Sherry Rehman, and was at the forefront of the Lawyers Movement in Pakistan in 2008 after former president Pervez Musharraf suspended chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. The Pakistan Muslim League-N also put up a nominee, Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
Alvi has been one of the earliest Imran Khan supporters. He joined the party in 1996 and was instrumental in drafting its constitution.
Alvi's father and his son are dentists too. His father Elahi Alvi is believed to have treated former Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Alvi, according to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf website, has letters from the family to vouch for this 'enamel connection' between the two countries.
PTI's success in Karachi—where the party secured 12 seats—can be credited to Alvi. In the last elections, NA-250 was the lone seat that PTI won with 76,000 votes. In fiercely contested fight this time, the model used by PTI in this constituency was replicated when it reached out to other places in Karachi. Alvi, who had wide support in his constituency, was tipped to be the speaker of the Sindh assembly before he was nominated to the post of the president.