The fourteen-member caretaker federal cabinet took oath on Tuesday at the Presidency, with President Asif Ali Zardari administering the oath to the cabinet ministers.
However, a last-minute intervention by the State Bank governor deprived Dr Mushtaq Khan of his ministerial slot.
He had been earlier been named as the possible candidate for the federal cabinet, but was denied the chance as he has been serving in the state-owned organisation.
The cabinet includes a single female minister.
Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso, National Assembly Speaker Fehmida Mirza wer among several prominent personalities present at the ceremony.
Those sworn in as minister included Arif Nizami, Sohail Wajahat H Siddique, Shahzada Ahsan Ashraf Sheikh, Malik Habib, Ahmer Bilal Soofi, Dr Musaddiq Malik, Maqbool HH Rahmatoola, Abdul Malik Kasi, Asadullah Mandokhel, Mir Hassan Domki, Dr Sania Nishtar, Feroze Jamal Shah Kakakhel, Dr Younis Soomro and Shahzada Jamal.
Most of the ministers expressed their ignorance about portfolios to be assigned to them.
Talking to reporters later, Arif Nizami, likely to be assigned the affairs of the ministry of information and broadcasting, said the top priority of the caretaker government should be holding free, fair and peaceful elections, as it was the sole mandate of the interim government.
He said the governance issue was a major challenge for caretakers and they would have to shift their focus on maintenance of law and order to ensure peaceful elections to set an example for the upcoming governments.
Asked whether he was being tasked to look after the affairs of Information Ministry, Nizami said he had been working in the media industry throughout his life.
“Hopefully I would not be asked to run the agriculture ministry,” he said on a lighter note. The minister said it was a welcome sign that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was independent and it was sharing the responsibility of the government.
He said besides looking after law and order of the country on priority, economy and energy sectors also needed attention by the government. Asked whether the elections would be held on time, Nizami said by the grace of God, the election process had started despite the fact that several efforts had been made to sabotage it.
“The democratic forces have succeeded in holding elections on time.”
Asked whether as a minister for information he would implement the code of conduct for the media as suggested by the ECP, Nizami said he was against any curbs on media.
“I would be the last person to support media curbs. I think the media, besides working independently, should itself observe responsibility. I would work to evolve consensus between the state institutions in this regard,” he maintained.
Though the officials were informed that the portfolios for the ministers would be assigned by 8pm, no notification had been made until the filing of this report.