Pakistan’s new cabinet is set to be sworn in on Monday. The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) government, which has been embroiled in controversy over the distribution of ministries, has been under pressure at the last minute. The country is set to get a new cabinet a week after Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shahbaz Sharif was sworn in as prime minister. News Dawn.
On Sunday, Shahbaz Sharif consulted with the alliance partners on the formation of the cabinet. He held meetings with delegations of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and Balochistan National Party (BNP).
Meanwhile, Asif Ali Zardari, co-chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), has vowed to fulfill his promise to share partners as a “guarantor” of the Zardari alliance.
Miriam Aurangzeb could be the new government’s information minister. “The federal cabinet is going to be sworn in tomorrow (Monday),” he told Dawn on Sunday. Miriam Aurangzeb said the PML-N would get 14 ministries. PPP will get 11 ministries.
Miriam Aurangzeb claimed that all members of the alliance, including the JUI-F and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), were being given seats in the cabinet. A long meeting of the joint committee of the alliance was held on Sunday to form the cabinet. It has settled the objections of the partners regarding the distribution of ministries and important posts. The PML-N wants to take over the ministries of defense, finance, interior, law and justice, railways, information, energy, planning and communications, the party spokesman said.
Earlier, PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah told a private television channel that a new coalition committee had finalized the formation of a new cabinet. Almost all the parties of the alliance have been included in the cabinet. He said the party had asked PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to take charge of the foreign ministry. However, it is still uncertain whether Bilawal will join Shahbaz’s cabinet.
On the other hand, an official source told Dawn that JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman is not joining the federal cabinet. However, he assured to remain as a partner of the alliance. JUI-F has demanded the post of president. Besides, the JUI-F has expressed dissatisfaction with the Awami National Party (ANP) and independent lawmaker Mohsin Dawar being given one ministry each.
Expressing dissatisfaction with Zardari, Fazlur Rahman asked why the ministry was given to the party and individual elected against his party. They will also harm his party in the next election. In response, Zardari said he would not back down from the promises made to the partners as “guarantors”. His party did worse than expected from opinion polls, which saw them at gaining about a third of the seats.
According to a PPP source, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has given Zardari the upper hand in the distribution of ministries among the parties. He also asked the PPP to join the cabinet. The party will be in charge of seven ministries. However, as all parties want to take lucrative and important posts, the division of responsibilities between ministries and government posts is not an easy task, said Shahbaz. He said the ruling coalition had decided to make PPP king Pervez Ashraf the speaker of the National Assembly. Ayaz Sadiq of PML-N was also a candidate for the post. However, after receiving instructions from the party leadership, he withdrew the application.
According to PPP sources, it has been decided in a coalition that PPP leader Yousuf Raja Gilani will be the next chairman of the Senate.
In the cabinet, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Maryam Aurangzeb, Khwaja Asif, Miftah Ismail, Zahid Hamid, Ahsan Iqbal, Rana Sanaullah, Rana Tanvir, Shahid Khakan Abbasi, Khwaja Saad Rafiq, Hina Rabbani Khar, Shaz can go. Besides, the PPP and MQM will decide who will be the next governor of Sindh.
Imran Khan’s government was ousted on April 9 by a no-confidence motion in the National Assembly. Then, on 11 April, Shahbaz Sharif, President of the PML-N and Leader of the Opposition, was elected the 23rd Prime Minister of Pakistan. As a rule, the country is expected to hold new elections within the next six months to a year.