The government on Monday inducted four more Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) lawmakers as ministers of state – a move likely to invite opposition criticism over the bulging size of the cabinet.
The federal government is still struggling to allocate portfolios to close to a dozen of its members inducted in the cabinet over the weekend.
President Asif Ali Zardari administered the oath to the four ministers of state. They are Imtiaz Safdar Warrich, Dost Muhammad Mazari, Sardar Saleem Haider and Mozam Ali Khan Jatoi.
The ruling PPP had inducted five federal and six ministers of state in the Cabinet on April 13, but it is yet to announce their portfolios. With the induction of the four new ministers of state, the total size of federal cabinet has now reached 53.
The government will have to accommodate some members from the coalition parties including the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Awami National Party (ANP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) which will further swell the size of the Cabinet.
According to some reports, the government will announce portfolios after accommodating coalition partners which is most likely going to happen in the coming days.
The induction of the new ministers of state comes amidst reports of bickering among coalition partners, none of whom seem satisfied with their share in the Cabinet.
Back in 2011, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had announced the dissolution of his Cabinet, with the aim to refurbish the government’s image by moving in accordance with the provisions of a landmark constitutional reforms package, the 18th Amendment, and also to adopt austerity measures by resizing the Federal Cabinet.
Under the 18th Amendment, the size of the Cabinet cannot exceed 11% of the total strength of 448-member parliament, which would translate roughly into 50 members.
Earlier, while Raja Pervez Ashraf, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Nazar Muhammad Gondal, Rana Farooq Saeed and Farzana Raja took oath as federal ministers; Tasneem Qureshi, Malik Ammad Khan, Samsam Bukhari, MNA Raheela Baloch, Senator Abbas Afridi and MNA Malik Azmat took oath as ministers of state.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 17th, 2012.
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