Several new faces made the cut as the Sindh government inducted nine new ministers, including Syed Owais Muzaffar, and two advisers in the second phase of cabinet expansion on Wednesday. Muzaffar, who has already been made chairperson of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB), is likely to get the portfolio of local government.
While talking to The Express Tribune, sources in the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) confirmed that the party has agreed in principal to allot the local government ministry to Muzaffar besides an additional charge of public health engineering and housing ministries.
Meanwhile, Jam Mahtab Dahar, who served as the revenue minister in the previous term, would be given the reins of food ministry while Mukesh Kumar Chawla, Ali Mardan Shah and Jam Khan Shoro would look after excise and taxation, population and planning and livestock and fisheries respectively.
Javed Nagori, elected from the troubled Lyari area, has been made the Katchi Abadi minister while Dost Muhammad Rahimoon is likely to get auqaf, ushr and zakat ministry and Rubina Qaimkhani will be given women development. Gainchand Israni will look after wildlife with additional charge of minorities and forest department.
The two advisers include Muhammad Khan Junejo and Dr Zulfikar Mirza’s son, Husnain Mirza.
The new cabinet ministers will join the seven ministers and one adviser inducted in the first phase which include Nisar Ahmed Khuhro (education), Sharjeel Memon (information), Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani (works and services), Manzoor Wassan (prisons and anti-corruption), Makhdoom Jameeluz Zaman (revenue excluding land utilization), Ali Nawaz Mahar (agriculture), Dr Sikandar Mandhro (law and parliamentary affairs) and Murad Ali Shah (adviser to the CM on finance).
There are unconfirmed reports that the government has decided to withdraw the charge of prisons ministry from Wassan.
MQM pushes for LG elections
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement welcomed the government’s decision to expand the cabinet and said it would help run the affairs of the province more smoothly. The party, however, also demanded holding of local government elections without delay. “Development of the province is domain of the elected local government, therefore, we will again like to press the Sindh government to hold the local government elections without wasting more time,” said Faizal Subzwari, leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly.
The current expansion has increased the size of the cabinet to 19, the maximum allowed under the 18th Amendment but sources believe that a third phase of induction cannot be ruled out. “After trying their luck with the MQM, the PPP is trying to woo the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional into joining the government and if a deal is struck then the latter is likely to get at least two ministers and two advisers,” said a source.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2013.