ISLAMABAD: Mamnoon Hussain, a loyalist of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, took oath as 12th president of the country here on Monday.
The oath was administered by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry at a ceremony held at the President House (Aiwan-e-Sadr).
It was a rare event as former president Asif Ali Zardari, who stayed in the President House for five years until Sunday, also attended the ceremony along with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, members of the federal cabinet and heads of parliamentary parties.
Prime Minister Sharif and Zardari watched as Hussain took oath, wearing a black cap in the style of Pakistan’s founding father Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
The 73-year-old Hussain was elected on July 30 by members of the four provincial assemblies and the federal parliament. Hussain, a candidate of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), which swept the May 11, 2013 general elections, received a clear majority of votes against Justice (Retd) Wajihuddin, the presidential candidate of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had boycotted the election.
A close ally of Sharif, Hussain’s low-key persona and lack of a political power base of his own will put him in stark contrast to Zardari.
Zardari completed his presidential tenure on Sunday, becoming the first elected president in Pakistan’s history to complete his five-year term.
Even though the PPP had boycotted the presidential poll, Hussain was felicitated by Zardari, who wished him well in the discharge of his responsibilities as the head of the state.
Hussain is a former president of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and briefly also served as governor of Sindh province until Sharif’s second government was toppled by General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf in a bloodless coup on October 12, 1999.