Pakistan’s new federal cabinet takes oath

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Abdul Basit

Islamabad – Pakistan’s new federal cabinet members took oath on Friday morning at the Presidency in Islamabad.
President Mamnoon Hussain administered the oath to 43 members of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s cabinet comprising mostly old ministers but with some reshuffled portfolios.
The new cabinet comprises 27 federal ministers and 16 state ministers.
The names of the cabinet members and their portfolios were finalised by PM Abbasi after six-hour-long consultations with his predecessor Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in Murree on Thursday.
Khawaja Muhammad Asif, earlier the defence minister in Nawaz Sharif’s government, will serve as the country’s new foreign minister. The country remained without a foreign minister after 2013 when the PML-N came into power. The last foreign minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, was appointed by the PPP.
Ahsan Iqbal, former minister for planning, will take charge of the key interior ministry in Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s government.
Ishaq Dar will continue as finance minister whereas Pervez Malik will be the new minister for commerce in place of Khurram Dastagir Khan, who will take charge of the defence ministry.
Saad Rafique will retain his post as minister of railways.
Talal Chaudhry from Faisalabad, Arshad Leghari from Rahim Yar Khan and Junaid Anwar Chaudhry from Toba Tek Singh are said to be among the newcomers in the cabinet. Daniyal Aziz from Narowal, who was also expected to take the oath, did not attend the ceremony.
Marriyum Aurangzeb, Zahid Hamid and Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry are expected to retain their previous portfolios. Hamid was law minister and Aurangzeb minister of state for information in the previous cabinet of the ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif. She had replaced Pervez Rashid. Tariq Fazal was in charge of the Capital Administration and Development Division.
Earlier, prime minister of Pakistan Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told reporters on Wednesday evening in Murree that the federal cabinet will be decided in two days. Abbasi mentioned the negotiations are on with Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to include him in the Cabinet.
The new federal cabinet of ministers will be decided in a day or two, prime minister of Pakistan Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told reporters on Wednesday evening in Murree. Abbasi mentioned the negotiations are on with Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan to include him in the Cabinet.
Last Friday, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) candidate Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had been elected new prime minister of Pakistan by securing 221 votes. His rivals Sheikh Rashid got 33 votes and Naveed Qatar of Pakistan’s Peoples Party got 47 votes. He will administer the oath by President of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain later on. – abdulbasit@theuaenews.com