16 ministers from PM Imran Khan’s cabinet sworn in
Dawn, Pakistan: Sixteen members of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s 21-strong cabinet took oath at a ceremony held at the President House in Islamabad on Monday morning. President Mamnoon Hussain administered the oath to the nominated federal ministers. Newly sworn-in Prime Minister Khan was by his side.
The ceremony commenced with the national anthem. This was followed by recitation of verses from the Holy Quran. The cabinet members then rose to take the oath of office.
The new cabinet includes 16 federal ministers and five advisers.
PTI’s vice chairman Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi will be the country’s new foreign minister, a position where he had previously served during the last PPP government between 2008-13 under the then president Asif Zardari and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. Qureshi had resigned from the cabinet after developing differences with the party leadership during a reshuffle in the cabinet.
Qureshi had also once served as provincial finance minister in the cabinet of Nawaz Sharif when he was the chief minister of the Punjab during the military rule of Gen Ziaul Haq.
With no surprise, Asad Umar has been made minister for finance and revenue whereas the portfolio of the information and broadcasting has been given to PTI’s information secretary Fawad Chaudhry, who had also previously served as spokesman for Gen Musharraf’s All-Pakistan Muslim League (APML) and remained part of the media team of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari before joining the PTI.
Ghulam Sarwar Khan, who defeated PML-N’s estranged leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in the July 25 elections in two constituencies, has been allocated the portfolio of petroleum ministry. Nisar had also served as petroleum minister in the first two governments of Nawaz Sharif.
Dr Shireen Mazari has been given the portfolio of human rights, whereas former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister Pervez Khattak is the country’s new defence minister.
Former PTI information secretary Shafqat Mehmood has been given the portfolio of federal education and professional training with the additional charge of national history and literary heritage division. Having Masters’ degree from Harvard University, Mehmood had served as senator in the 1990s. He also served as Punjab information minister in the PML-N government in 1999.
Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiyar, who had previously served as minister of state for foreign affairs during the military regime of Gen Musharraf, has been made the minister for water resources.
PTI MNA from Rawalpindi Aamir Mehmood Kiyani is the minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination.
Among those who have been given representation in the federal cabinet for being leaders of the PTI’s allies are Senator Farogh Naseem of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (law and justice); Chaudhry Tariq Bashir Cheema of the PML-Q (states and frontier regions); Zubaida Jalal of the Balochistan Awami Party (defence production); Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed (railways); Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui of the MQM-P (information technology and telecommunication); Dr Fehmida Mirza of the Grand Democratic Alliance (inter-provincial coordination) and an independent MNA from Fata Noorul Haq Qadri (religious affairs and interfaith harmony).
Senator Naseem, who had served as the youngest advocate general of Sindh, also represented former military ruler Gen Musharraf in a court hearing the high treason case under Article 6 of the Constitution.
Zubaida Jalal, too, was an active member of the cabinet as education minister during the regime of Gen Musharraf.
AML chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has managed to get back the portfolio of railways, the position he had previously enjoyed during the rule of Gen Musharraf. Previously, he had served as a cabinet member under former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
Dr Fehmida Mirza, who had enjoyed the honour of the first woman speaker of the National Assembly during the PPP government from 2008 to 2013, contested the July 25 elections from the platform of the GDA after her spouse Dr Zulfiqar Mirza had developed differences with the government.
PM Khan has retained the vast interior portfolio, for at least the time being.