ISLAMABAD - Living up to its promise, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf opened the doors of Aiwan-i-Sadr, the highly guarded building in the red zone, to the general public as hundreds of people from different walks of life including women and children visited the building from 9am to 4pm.

It was a rare show watching people and children strolling at the lush green gardens of the President House, once restricted to select people from elitist class and those at the helms of affairs only.

President Arif Alvi along with his spouse first appeared in the balcony of the palatial building, a mix of eastern and western architecture, and waved the people in the lawns and later came down and mingled up with them and responded to various queries of the people.

There was no restriction on anyone’s visiting the place but on entry point they have to show their computerised identity cards and for security reasons people were not allowed to take their phones along with them and hence depriving them of taking selfies.

President Arif Alvi after his elections as the parliamentary head of the democratic system said that he would prefer to live at his Parliament Lodges accommodation but owing to security reasons he had moved to Awan-i-Sadr.

On a number of occasions, President Alvi said that he wanted to live in masses and would abhor holing up in the palatial building.

Perhaps that was the reason he was jubilant to see people roaming around in the building known for its grander, decorum and eerie silence. President Alvi along with his spouse Samina Alvi welcomed the people to Aiwan-e-Sadr. He said that he wanted to bridge the gap between the government and the people.

During interaction with the people, the president mixed up with the people and told media on the occasion that the adjacent parks of the presidency would also be opened to public besides displaying the relic to the visitors.

The decision to open the doors of Aiwan-e-Sadr was taken in pursuance of the government’s policy to give the common access to public buildings. The people felt amused while having the opportunity to enter and roam around the President House without any hassle.

The president said since morning, around 8,000 to 10,000 people had visited the Aiwan-e-Sadr and thanked them for maintaining the discipline during the activity.

The president said that the President House would remain open for the study tours of the educational institutions.

To a question, the president said being a symbol of the federation, he was not against anyone. He also dispelled the impression that the step to open the presidency was taken to divert public attention from the challenges confronting the country.