President Arif Alvi has excused himself from administrating oaths to the federal cabinet members, following which the ceremony has been postponed till today (Tuesday), it is learnt. According to sources, in the absence of President Alvi, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani would administer oath to the members of the federal cabinet.
The sources said that the federal cabinet was scheduled to take oath Monday night at 8:30pm; however, when the Prime Minister’s Office contacted the President’s Office, Alvi refused to administer oaths.
Earlier, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) senior leader Syed Khursheed Ahmad Shah said during informal conversation with parliamentary reporters that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) will have majority in the cabinet with 14 ministries. He said that the PPP will have 11, and the JUI-F will be given four ministries, while the rest of the seven positions will be allotted to other allies.
According to sources, the following is the list of the party-wise divisions of ministries: Ministry of Climate Change — PPP, Aviation Division — PML-N, Commerce and Trade Ministry — PPP, Ministry of Communications — JUI-F, Ministry of Defence — PML-N, Ministry of Defence Production — BAP, Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs — PML-N, Ministry of Education — BNP-M, Ministry of Foreign Affairs — PPP, Ministry of Human Rights — PPP, Ministry of Housing — JUI-F, Ministry of Industries and Production — PPP, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting — PML-N, Ministry of Information and Technology — MQM-P, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs — PML-N, Ministry of Energy — PML-N, Ministry of Special Initiatives, Planning, and Development — PML-N, Petroleum Division — PML-N, Ministry of Poverty Alleviation — PPP, Ministry of Privatisation — PPP, Ministry of Railways — PML-N, Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony — PML-N, Ministry of SAFFRON — PML-N, Ministry of Science and Technology — BAP, and Ministry of Water Resources — PPP.
The sources said that PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was expected to take the portfolio of the foreign ministry and become the next foreign minister. Initially, it was being said that the PPP chairman might not become a member of PM Shehbaz’s cabinet but now several PPP officials have confirmed that he would take charge of the foreign ministry.
PPP sources; however, said that the PPP and the MQM-P were discussing the mayor-ship of Karachi and Hyderabad along with governorship of Sindh.
MQM-P sources; however, emphasized that they were more interested in seeing the agreements made with the PPP and the PML-N leadership implemented in the coming days.
Commenting on the speculations about a rumoured ‘tussle’ between former president Asif Ali Zardari and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the sources in the PML-N and the PPP said that no such tussle was there as the slot of President is not yet available. If the president does not resign, they said, votes of not less than two-third of the total membership of the parliament would be needed to remove him.
The JUI-F officials also denied the rumours, saying the party has not asked for any position, including that of the President, or portfolios in the federal cabinet. They said that the major objective before the JUI-F, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and PDM’s allies – the PPP and the ANP – was the removal of the former premier Imran Khan, which was achieved through a no-confidence motion.
The JUI-F officials said that Maulana-led the opposition alliance was to oust Imran Khan from power and not to take ministries or positions in the government, which might announce fresh elections once the electoral reforms were completed.
The sources said that PML-N’s Khawaja Asif, Saad Rafique, Khurram Dastgir, Ahsan Iqbal, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Shaista Pervaiz Malik, Rana Sanaullah, and Murtaza Javed are likely to join the cabinet.
They said that independent candidates, Mohsin Dawar and Aslam Bhootani and PML-Q’s Tariq Bashir Cheema are also likely to be included in the cabinet.
The sources said that the MQM-P will get the governorship of Sindh, PPP governorship Punjab, JUI-F of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and BNP-M of Balochistan.
The story was originally published in Business Recorder on April 19, 2022.