Thursday, November 16, 2023
President Dr Arif Alvi has said that he will administer the oath to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supreme leader Nawaz Sharif if he becpmes the country’s prime minister for the fourth time after the February 8 polls.
In an interview with Voice of America (VOA) Urdu, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed president said the administering oath was part of the responsibility of his position and he would fulfil it.
He added: "One must do if the public elects someone."
The president's comment came in response to a question on whether he would administer the oath of office to the PML-N supremo.
Dr Alvi, during the interview, said he is positive when asked if he believes the general elections will take place on the designated date next year.
"The judiciary, administration and political leaders agree on timely conduct of elections. There is no doubt, the elections will be held on February 8," he affirmed.
When questioned about the possibility of uncertainty around polls, he told the US broadcaster that no lapse has been taken when on the date of elections.
"I commend the Supreme Court on taking a practical and unanimous election date," he said, after highlighting how his role has been positive towards ensuring that polls are held on time in the country.
Commenting on the idea of a level playing field, the president said it is the responsibility of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the government to provide one.
"[I] drew the government's attention by writing a letter for redressal of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) concerns. The government has assured to provide a level-playing field," he said, adding that the entrusts the government to do so.
Dr Alvi insisted he is the spokesperson of every Pakistani, not of any party. Dr Alvi said the Constitution does not allow the president to take practical steps to ensure transparent elections. But he said it is his duty as the head of state to keep "prompting" the executive to do its job transparently.
"The president has no executive powers, but the points raised by him make a lot of sense. Constitutionally this is a symbolic position," he said, highlighting that while expectations are in place, one cannot go against the Constitution.
Dr Alvi reiterated that problems can be solved if politicians, administration, and establishment work together.
The president said he is honoured to be the fourth president to have completed his term in office.
Dr Alvi was asked if he is doubtful that PTI chief Imran Khan would participate in the elections.
"I’ll not conjecture into that, it depends on the courts," the president said.
He was asked why his efforts to connect Khan with the military establishment went in vain. "There were many reasons for the failure of reconciliation between the army and PTI chairman."
When asked if he thinks that one particular party is a favourite ahead of selection in Pakistan, the president said: "I don't want to turn myself controversial by arguing on such matters."
He added that he wouldn't comment on that to avoid turning the president's position controversial.