New Delhi: After days of rumblings and dilly dallying, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif finally could get his cabinet sworn in on Tuesday (April 19).
Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani administered the oath to 37 federal ministers and ministers of state, ‘Dawn’ and other Pakistani media reported on Tuesday.
In an interesting development, former ‘full-fledged cabinet’ and in-charge of the foreign ministry, Hina Rabbani Khar, has taken charge now as the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
“She visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad today where Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood and other officials of the Ministry welcomed her,” ‘Radio Pakistan’ reported.
Hina Rabbani Khar earlier served as foreign minister between February 11, 2011, and March 16, 2013. She is from PPP, and thus indications still remain that her party chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari may eventually take over as Pakistan’s new foreign minister.
PPP leaders have suggested that following the footsteps of his grandfather Late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Bilawal, too, could try to build up his image based on the international limelight. Bilawal is also the son of former PM Benazir Bhutto and former President Asif Ali Zardari.
There are 31 federal ministers, three state ministers, and several advisers to the new Prime Minister.
As expected, Sharif’s PML (N) walked away with sizable representation in the new ministry that replaced Imran Khan’s regime. PTI leader and cricketer Imran Khan was the first dispensation to be voted out of office in Parliament or Pakistan’s National Assembly.
‘Radio Pakistan’ also reported that Marriyum Aurangzeb has taken charge as Minister for Information and Broadcasting. On her arrival at the Ministry of Information, she said the new government believes in freedom of expression.
Azam Nazir Tarar will be the new Minister for Law and Justice.
In a tweet, PM Shehbaz said that the federal cabinet was formed after “thorough consultations” with PML-N supremo and former PM Nawaz Sharif and the government’s coalition allies.
“It is my fervent hope that federal ministers, ministers of state and advisers will provide leadership and resolve the problems of the people. Work, work and only work is our motto,” he said.
It may be mentioned that there was a serious allegation of the absence of effective governance in Pakistan under Imran Khan.
A few federal ministers include – Khawaja Muhammad Asif (PML-N) Ahsan Iqbal, Rana Sanaullah Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, and PPP lawmakers Syed Khursheed Shah, Syed Naveed Qamar, Sherry Rehman and Abdul Qadir Patel.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, called on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and discussed professional matters, reports say.