After a wait of almost a month, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s 25-member federal cabinet took oath of office on Friday, with approximately all potential candidates clinching a slot in the PM’s dream team.
At an impressive ceremony held at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, President Asif Ali Zardari administered oath to new cabinet members, who included 16 federal and nine ministers of state, completing the process of the transfer of power to the newly-elected democratic government.
As expected, of the 25 cabinet members, Punjab took the lion’s share, as 19 of the members were picked from Punjab, three were taken from Sindh, two from Balochistan and one from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The PML-F appeared to be the only allied party of the PML-N that was accommodated in the cabinet, whereas all other slots went to the PML-N itself.
All independents who joined the PML-N with high hopes of making it to the cabinet were left high and dry, including the Legharis of Dera Ghazi Khan.
Lahore, which already had got the prize seats of prime minister and National Assembly speaker, proved the winner again with five ministries, while Gujranwala and Sialkot bagged two ministries each. Multan, Bahawalpur and Hazara districts also clinched a ministry each, where movements for separate provinces are underway and politicians have mobilised public for the cause of their rights.
However, DG Khan, one of the most under-developed area of Punjab, was ignored despite the presence of political heavyweights in the assemblies and also within the PML-N, including Legharis and Khosas.
The oath taking was witnessed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, services chiefs, parliamentarians, diplomats and senior officials.
The federal ministers who took oath of office included Ishaq Dar, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Abdul Qadir Baloch, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Rana Tanvir Hussain, Khwaja Muhammad Asif, Khwaja Saad Rafiq, Zahid Hamid, Sardar Mohammad Yousuf, Pervez Rasheed, Kamran Michael, Sikandar Bosan, Sadruddin Shah Rashdi, Ahsan Iqbal, Barjees Tahir and Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi.
Those made ministers of state included Mian Balighur Rehman, Usman Ibrahim, Khurram Dastagir, Jam Kamal, Sheikh Aftab Ahmed, Abdul Hakeem Baloch, Saira Afzal Tarar, Anousha Rehman and Pir Aminul Hasnat.
Senator Ishaq Dar has been appointed the minister for finance, Nisar Ali Khan gets Ministry of Interior and Narcotics, Khwaja Asif will oversee the Water and Power Ministry, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi gets Petroleum and Natural Resources, Pervez Rashid has been mad the information minister, Abdul Qadir Baloch will head SAFRON, Zahid Hamid will be the new law minister, Rana Tanvir will get the Ministry of Defence Production, Sardar Yousaf Religious Affairs, Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi Industries and Production, Sikandar Bosan Food Security and Research, Barjees Tahir Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan, Khwaja Saad Rafiq will manage Railways, Sadruddin Rashdi Human Resource Development and Overseas Pakistanis, Kamran Michael Ports and Shipping, while Ahsan Iqbal will be heading Planning and Development.
Ministers of State
Mian Baleeghur Rehman has been appointed as minister of state for education, Khurram Dastagir Khan for science and technology, Usman Ibrahim for housing and works, Sheikh Aftab Ahmed for Parliamentary Affairs, Jam Kamal Khan for petroleum and natural resources, Abdul Hakeem Baloch for Railways, Anusha Rehman Khan for information technology and telecom, Saira Afzal Tarar for health sciences regulation and coordination and Pir Muhammad Amirul Hasnat will be the state minister for religious affairs.
Advisers and special assistants to the PM
Sartaj Aziz has been appointed the adviser to the PM on National Security and foreign affairs, while Capitan (r) Shujaat Azeem the advisor on aviation.
Sardar Sanaullah Zehri and Tariq Fatemi have been appointed special assistants to the prime minister.