| 28 May 2022, Saturday |

Pakistan PM Sharif’s new Cabinet takes oath

A week after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif took office, Pakistan’s new Cabinet members took their oaths on Tuesday.

Sharif, 70, was sworn in as the 23rd prime minister of Pakistan on April 11, after the country’s joint opposition ousted his immediate predecessor Imran Khan via a vote of no-confidence.

Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani administered the oath, after President Arif Alvi — member of Khan’s party — excused himself from the ceremony.
Consisting of 31 federal ministers and three ministers of state, Sharif’s Cabinet is made up of allied political parties. Thirteen ministries went to Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, nine to Pakistan Peoples Party, four to Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal, and two to Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan.

Balochistan Awami Party, Jamhoori Watan Party, and Pakistan Muslim League Quaid got one ministry each.

Two of the three ministers of state are from PML-N and one from PPP.

According to a statement issued by the President House, among prominent lawmakers who were inducted into the Cabinet is Khawaja Mohammed Asif, a former defense minister and a member of PML-N. Several politicians from PPP, the party of former President Asif Ali Zardari, are also part of the Cabinet, including Khursheed Shah and Sherry Rehman.

As the distribution of portfolios is not final, changes in the Cabinet’s composition are still very likely, Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, president of the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency, told Arab News.

“It is quite expected that questions will be raised, changes or expansion in the Cabinet will come up and many other people may also be inducted as advisors or special assistants to the prime minister,” he said.
As he has formed his government, Sharif will now have to focus on keeping it in power. His Cabinet can remain in place until general elections are due in August 2023.

“The formation of the Cabinet is done, but the new challenge is now managing it, decision making, moving forward on key issues and developing consensus within the coalition,” Mehboob added. “They have limited time to prove themselves.”

Sharif emerged as the leader of the united opposition to topple Khan over accusations of poor governance and mismanagement of the economy.

He is known for having spearheaded several development and infrastructural projects during his three tenures as Punjab chief minister, and he has a reputation domestically as a “can-do” administrator.

He is also the younger brother of PMLN-N supremo Nawaz Sharif — three-time prime minister who was barred by the Supreme Court in 2017 from holding public office and went abroad on medical bail after serving a few months of a 10-year jail corruption sentence.

  • Arab News