Categories: National

PM Imran Khan’s first cabinet anything but ‘Naya Pakistan’


The first cabinet announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan falls short of his promised ‘right man for the right job’ motto. Rather, the 20-member ‘dream team’ looks like a stereotypical recipe to accommodate politicians from all provinces and coalition partners irrespective of their skills, expertise, and calibre.

Moreover, there is no representation of young parliamentarians who have zeal, energy and fervour to serve the nation. PTI’s firebrand speakers who have been defending the PTI on media like Shehryar Khan Afridi, Zartaj Gul Wazir, Ali Mohammad Khan and Farrukh Habib have been ignored.

However, most of the ministers chosen are stereotypes, like Sheikh Rasheed, Dr Zubaida Jalal, Dr Khalid Maqbool, Dr Farogh Nasim, Pervez Khattak, and Shireen Mazari who don’t reflect PTI’s maxim of change. The only strength they have is their links with the military establishment though.

While the chief minister of Punjab has already proved to be not a true reflection of PTI’s dynamic programme, it was necessary for Imran Khan to appoint PTI’s young leaders in major ministries to help pull the dream of ‘Naya Pakistan’ into reality. As an offence to many, the new team doesn’t include a single member from the minority groups in the country as neither a Hindu, Christian or a Parsi has been given the portfolio for interfaith harmony.

Moreover, women have also been ignored in the new cabinet while Mazari has been given an office she has never dealt with – human rights.

Former chief minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – Pervez Khattak – has been appointed as Minister for Defence. While he has nothing to do with MoD, Khattak had told media during an interview that he keeps away from media, military and judiciary. Now one wonders how Khattak, who is known to be short-tempered, would coordinate between the Ministry of Defence and civilian leadership.

Dr Fehmida Mirza has served as National Assembly speaker in past and had undergone medical treatment abroad due to her serious health condition. How she will be able to shuttle between provincial capitals is a major question as Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination has to act as a liaison between federal and provincial governments.

Tariq Bashir Cheema is a typical Punjabi politician from Bahawalpur who has been made the Minister for States and Frontier Regions. One may ask how he will be able to deal with tribal elders on behalf of the federal government and it can only be answered by Imran Khan.

Senior politician Ghulam Sarwar Khan, who defeated former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in two national assembly constituencies, has been appointed Minister for Petroleum while the fellow has no experience of dealing in the field. Perhaps, the only relevance can be made is that Sarwar’s adversary, Ch Nisar, served as Minister for Petroleum in past and Sarwar may be trying to equate himself as Petroleum Minister.

Dr Jalal has served as Minister for Education under Musharraf’s team back in 2002-2007 but now she has been appointed as Minister for Defence Production – a subject she has never dealt with.

Amir Mehmood Kayani has been appointed Minister for Health Services while the fellow has no relevance with Ministry of Health or reforms in the health sector. Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui has been appointed Minister for Information Technology & Telecommunication while the fellow has no expertise in this subject.

Shafqat Mehmood would look after two ministries, federal education & professional training and national history & literary Heritage division, but the former bureaucrat has nothing to do with the subject of education.

One may appreciate that Imran Khan has made an effort to accommodate people from various provinces and all allied parties, however, this team fails to appear as a much-anticipated ‘dream team’.

Mian Abrar

The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He can be reached at

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Tags: cabinetFarogh NasimGhulam Sarwar KhanImran KhanKhalid Maqbool SiddiquiNaya PakistanPervez KhattakPtiSheikh Rasheedshireen mazariZubaida Jalal

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