A 10- to 12-member federal cabinet of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is expected to be sworn in on Monday (today), in the first phase. Informed sources said the committee comprising members of all the coalition partners has finalised its work on allocation of portfolios and a 10- to 12-member cabinet is likely to take oath in the first phase, Business Recorder reported.
They said that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) senior leader Murtaza Javed Abbasi is likely to become deputy speaker of the National Assembly.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari is likely to be given the portfolio of foreign minister and Hina Rabbani Khar the position of Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
They said the ministry of human rights too would go to the PPP which would either be given to Shazia Marri or Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar.
Khawaja Asif of PML-N is expected to be given the portfolio of Minister for Commerce and Trade while Miftah Ismail may be inducted into the cabinet as adviser to the prime minister on finance.
PML-N’s Marriyum Aurangzeb is expected to become Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Rana Sanaullah as Minister for Interior, and Rana Tanvir Hussain as Minister for Parliamentary Affairs.
Senior PML-N leader and former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has excused himself for taking any portfolio; however, the sources said that Abbasi would look after the Ministry of Energy.
Meanwhile, talking to a private TV channel, PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah said that in all, his party will get 14 ministries and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) will be given 11 ministries in the federal cabinet.
He said that PPP has agreed to become part of the federal cabinet and it has desired to get the Ministry of Foreign Affairs likely for PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. However, he added that it is up to the PPP to decide whether it will give the portfolio of Foreign Minister to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari or anybody else.
He further stated that the ministries of interior, planning and development, national security, energy and information and broadcasting will go to PML-N while from the ministries of communication and commerce, the PML-N and PPP would get one each.
He further stated that the ministry of human rights would also be given to PPP while from the ministries of ports and shipping, and overseas Pakistanis, the PPP and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) would be given one each.
He also clarified that no decision has yet been given with regard to appointment of Governor Punjab, adding that the PML-N would decide as to who would get this important slot. On appointment of Governor Sindh, he added that the PPP and MQM-P would mutually decide about it.
He said that a committee comprising members of all the coalition partners has finalized distributions of portfolios of the federal cabinet, adding that the coalition partners have sought a one-day for further consultation before formally announcing the federal cabinet.
PML-N, PPP yet to reconcile differences over federal cabinet
The new coalition led by PML-N has yet to iron out differences with regard to the federal cabinet, INP reported. Even PPP has been divided over joining the federal cabinet, sources said.
According to sources, former president Asif Ali Zardari has been against the People’s Party’s joining the cabinet of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. However, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari supporting to become part of federal cabinet.
The PPP and PML-N, two major parties in the alliance, have differences over distribution of the constitutional offices, according to sources.
People’s Party sources said that the PML-N have rigid stance over the ministries. “The PPP wants ministries of its choice and constitutional offices in the new government,” party sources said. The PML-N, however, avoiding to give the PPP the portfolios it wants, sources further said.
People’s Party also wants its man as the Chairman of the Senate, but the PML-N has not yet promised to give the top office of the upper house to the coalition partner, according to sources.
Presently Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has been elected the Speaker of the National Assembly. Despite multiple meetings between PPP and PML-N, the new coalition set up failed to iron out differences over the formation of federal cabinet.
BNP, BAP teams meet PM
Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) chief Akhtar Mengal and Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) parliamentary leader Khalid Magsi called on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday, Business Recorder reported.
During the meeting, the Baloch leaders congratulated the Prime Minister on assuming the office of Prime Minister, and expressed their determination to work with the federal government for the socio-economic development of the country, according to a statement issued by PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb.
She added that the Prime Minister thanked Akhtar Mengal, Khalid Magsi and other members of the delegation for their determination to work together for the stability of democracy and the welfare of the people of the country.
The meeting was also attended by PML-N’s senior leaders including Khawaja Saad Rafique, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and Rana Sanaullah. During the meeting, sources said that the possible cabinet portfolios to be given to the coalition partners, also came under discussion.