Mamnoon Hussain was sworn in on Monday as Pakistan’s 12th President by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry at a ceremony here. Among those who attended were Asif Ali Zardari who stepped down on Sunday.

Mr. Hussain who was born in Agra in 1940 was former Governor of Sindh and headed the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry. A close aide of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, he has a textile business. His family left India two years after Partition and settled in Karachi. The low key businessman will offer a stark contrast to his predecessor. Mr. Hussain was a surprise choice for this largely ceremonial post.

He takes over a country which is fighting battles on many fronts along with a deteriorating law and order situation in most of its provinces.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif chaired the much-awaited meeting of the All Parties Conference(APC) which passed a resolution saying the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan were paramount and must be safe-guarded at all costs.

It also expressed concern over the drone attacks and said they were continuing despiteunambiguous protests by the democratically elected government.

It stressed the need for a dialogue to restore peace in tribal areas. And it also noted with grave concern the continued threat to life, property and business in the city of Karachi.

The meeting authorised the Provincial Government of Balochistan and its Chief Minister to initiate the process of dialogue with all estranged Baloch elements inside and outside of the country with a view to bring them back to national mainstream.

Leaders of all the main parties were invited for the meeting and Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan, said after the conference these were just the beginnings towards extricating the country from the debilitating U.S. “war on terror” and moving towards a national holistic policy on counter terrorism. In many ways,Mr. Khan said the APC resolution was a vindication of the PTI position demanding “give peace a chance” .