Punjab, K-P bid adieu to caretakers as cabinets sworn in

Fresh faces dominate Maryam’s cabinet; Gandapur appoints 15 ministers, 5 advisers

News Desk March 06, 2024
The cabinet members, including Marriyum Aurangzeb, Syed Muhammad Ashiq Hussain Shah, and Khawaja Salman Rafique, stood before Governor Balighur Rehman to pledge their commitment to serving the province. SCREENGRAB


The process of government formation advanced on Wednesday with the swearing-in ceremonies for both the Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) cabinets.

Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman administered the oath to 18 ministers in Lahore, attended by Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz. In Peshawar, Governor Haji Ghulam Ali swore in 15 ministers, with Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur present.

Chief Minister Punjab Maryam Nawaz appears to have preferred fresh faces over old guards as more than half of her eighteen-member cabinet comprises first-time ministers.

Meanwhile, in a somewhat surprising move, despite having a coalition partner in PML-Q, her cabinet did not feature any member from IPP, even as strong rumours suggested the party's parliamentary secretary was in line for a ministerial position.

The oath-taking ceremony took place at the Governor House Punjab, where eighteen MPs were sworn in. Of these eighteen members, twelve are set to function as provincial ministers in Punjab for the first time.

If Azma Bukhari, whose term lasted a mere four days, is to be included, the count of first-timers rises to thirteen. She has been given the information ministry.

In addition, Marriyum Aurangzeb, who previously served as a federal minister for information and broadcasting, is making her debut in Punjab to assist CM Maryam, who lacks parliamentary or firsthand experience of working in the government of her own.

However, not all first-time ministers lack political experience, as some have held elected positions in the past.

For instance, Mian Muhammad Kazim Hussain Peerzada, assigned to the irrigation ministry, served as a parliamentary secretary and tehsil nazim.

Read more: Maryam Nawaz takes oath as first woman CM Punjab as Pakistanis take to the internet

Similarly, Rana Sikandar Hayat, who is now handling the portfolios of school education and literacy and non-formal basic, served as a district chairman in Kasur during the last local body's term.

Other newcomers to the cabinet include Sohaib Ahmad Malik, the nephew of incumbent Chief Secretary Punjab Zahid Akhtar Zaman, assigned civil & works; Ramesh Singh Arora from Kartarpur; Faisal Ayub Khokhar from Lahore; Zeehsan Raffique from Sialkot; Bilal Akbar Khan from Narowal; Syed Muhammad Ashiq Hussain Shah from Okara.

Strikingly, the list also features Sohail Shaukat Butt, reportedly accused of high-profile murders. Sohail, despite his notoriety, ascended in party ranks after securing relief for Shehbaz Sharif's immediate family in a viral bakery fight incident on social media.

Sardar Sher Ali Gorchani, who previously served as deputy speaker, will be a provincial minister for the first time, overseeing the mines and mineral portfolio.

Chaudhry Shafay Hussain, son of PML-Q's Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, has also found a place in the provincial cabinet, despite lacking parliamentary experience. He has been appointed as the minister for commerce and industry.

A senior PML-N leader, when questioned about IPP's absence from the list, said he was also unaware of the reason behind their absence from the list.

Following the oath-taking, Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz conveyed her best wishes to the new ministers, emphasizing their responsibility to meet public expectations. Marriyum Aurangzeb was appointed as the senior minister, assigned portfolios including Planning and Development, along with Forests and Environment, according to a government notification.

The newly appointed ministers for Punjab are Mujtaba Shuja (Finance), Kazim Pirzada (Irrigation), Uzma Bukhari (Information and Broadcasting), Rana Sikandar Hayat (Primary Education), Khawaja Imran Nazir (Primary Health), Khawaja Salman Naseer Rafiq (Specialised Health), Asiq Kirmani (Agriculture), Khalil Tahir Sindhu (Human Rights), Ramesh Arora (Minority Affairs), Faisal Khokhar (Sports), Zeeshan Rafiq (Local Government), Sohail Bharat (Communications), Chaudhry Shafay Hussain (Trade and Industry), Sher Ali Gorchani (Mines and Minerals), and Sohail Shaukat (Social Welfare).

In Peshawar, the 15-member K-P cabinet was sworn in after approval from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan.

K-P Governor Ghulam Ali administered the oath at a ceremony attended by PTI workers, with Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur present.

The ministers include Arshad Ayub, Shakeel Ahmad, Fazal Hakeem, Adnan Qadri, Aqibullah, Muhammad Sajjad, Meena Khan, Fazl Shakoor, Nazir Abbasi, Pakhtunyar, Aftab Alam, Khaliqur Rehman, Qasim Ali Shah, Faisal Tarakai, and Muhammad Zahir Shah Toro.

The chief minister also appointed five advisers. They are Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif, Syed Fakhar Jahan, Muzamil Aslam, Mashal Azam and Zahid Chan Zeb.

Many new faces have appeared in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa cabinet and government team.

They include Fazal Hakeem Khan from Swat, Muhammad Adnan Qadri from Khyber, Aqibullah Khan from Swabi, Faisal Khan Turkai from Swabi, Mohammad Sajjad from Karak, Meena Khan Afridi from Peshawar, Qasim Ali Shah from Peshawar, Nazir Ahmad Abbas from Abbottabad, Pakhtun Yar from Bannu, Aftab Alam from Kohat, and Zahir Shah Toro from Mardan.

However, the new K-P cabinet and government team includes relatives of many former ministers and officials.

K-P minister Qasim Ali Shah's father Agha Syed Ali Shah has remained a provincial minister and mayor of Peshawar.

Former National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser’s brother, Aqibullah, has also been appointed as a provincial minister.

Ex-senior minister Shahram Turkai’s brother, Faisal Turkai, has become a minister as well.
Shahram has been a minister in the cabinets of former K-P chief ministers Pervez Khattak and Mahmood Khan as well as remained the district nazim of Swabi.

Another member of the newly appointed K-P cabinet, Adnan Qadri, is a nephew of former federal minister Noorul Haq Qadri.

Similarly, Arshad Ayub, who has also been sworn in as a K-P cabinet member, is a brother of former provincial ministers Akbar Ayub Khan and Yusuf Ayub Khan as well as a cousin of PTI Central General Secretary Omar Ayub Khan.



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