The cabinet of Pakistan’s coalition government was sworn in on Tuesday. A week after being sworn in as prime minister, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Shahbaz Sharif has a 36-member cabinet (ministers, state ministers and advisers). However, no one has been sworn in as foreign minister in one of the most important foreign ministries.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hina Rabbani Khar of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has become the state minister in the department. PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari could be a minister in his ministry, the country’s media outlet The Express Tribune reported.
Shahbaz’s coalition government wants to re-establish ties with the Western world, especially the United States. However, it is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. He was not among the cabinet members sworn in on Tuesday. No one has been appointed as the foreign minister so far. Bilawal is the foreign minister, there are already such rumors.
However, the fact that Hina Rabbani Khar is the Minister of State for External Affairs means that the important department has gone to the PPP. Multiple media reports suggest that Bilawal may be sworn in as foreign minister after the PML-N and the PPP address certain issues. He may also meet PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif in London before joining the cabinet.
Though the issue of Bilawal’s joining the cabinet is pending, Hina Rabbani Khar assumed her responsibility on Tuesday. He was the foreign minister from 2011 to 2013 when he was in the PPP government. In the ‘Raymond Davis Debate’, Shah Mahmood Qureshi resigned and was replaced by Hina Rabbani Khar. Hina, then 34, was the youngest foreign minister.
On Tuesday, the first working day after taking office, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmud briefed the State Minister for Foreign Affairs. Sources told The Express Tribune that there could be major changes in foreign policy under the new government. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government will focus on repairing damaged relations with the Western world, especially the United States.
One official said the government could show certain achievements in foreign policy in the short term. He expressed optimism about greater engagement with European countries and the United States.
This process has already begun. The new government has twice stated its importance to a long-term relationship with the United States. Washington has also shown a positive attitude towards the new government’s goodwill towards relations. Ned Price, a spokesman for the State Department, said the United States expects to work with the Shahbaz administration.
Imran Khan’s PTI government resigned on April 9 after losing the no-confidence motion brought by the opposition alliance. Imran has been alleging that there is a ‘US conspiracy’ behind the no-confidence motion. However, both the opposition and the United States have denied the allegations.