With the federal cabinet in place now, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif is likely to finalise the makeup of his cabinet today (Saturday), The Express Tribune has learnt.
The chief minister discussed the names of potential ministers and their portfolios with his elder brother Nawaz Sharif in a meeting at Jati Umra, in Raiwind, sources in Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz said. The two leaders concurred that the provincial cabinet would comprise 15 ministers.
The provincial cabinet will take oath in the coming days, sources said, adding that Chief Minister Shahbaz will finalise the names of his cabinet members after receiving input from departments concerned on Saturday.
Sources also shared some of the names Nawaz and Shahbaz discussed at Friday’s meeting. They include former provincial law minister Rana Sanaullah, former deputy speaker in the Punjab Assembly Rana Mashhood, Mian Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman, Zaeem Hussain Qadri, Raja Ashfaq Sarwar, Mehmood Qadir Khan Leghari, Chaudhry Shafique, Arshad Jutt, Iqbal Channar, Begum Zakia Shahnawaz and Ayesha Javed.
According to sources, the chief minister is likely to have a tough time over assigning the law ministry to either Sanaullah or Mashood. While Shahbaz is grateful to Sanuallah for the role he played in the PML-N’s victory in Punjab during his previous tenure as law minister, Nawaz is thankful to Mashood for his role in the creation of the 10-party alliance in Sindh.
Reportedly, the Sharif brothers and some other senior PML-N leaders have decided to satisfy both Sanaullah and Mashood by offering them different portfolios. They agreed that Mashood would be appointed as the law minister while Sanaullah would be appointed as a senior minister and would be given the portfolio for local government as well.
Sanaullah, however, is keen on retaining the law ministry along with the local government portfolio. On the other hand, Mashood insists his legal background makes him more qualified to run the law ministry.
Meanwhile, Ashfaq Sarwar is reportedly lobbying for his appointment as a senior minister. According to PML-N officials, his portfolio is linked with the resolution of the tussle between Sanaullah and Mashood.
Sources say Zakia Shahnawaz is keen on getting a portfolio for social issues like women’s development. Ayesha Javed is also being considered for an important portfolio due to her status as one of the most educated women in PML-N, they added. According to a PML-N official, Zaeem Qadri would most likely receive the education ministry.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2013.