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LAHORE, June 10: The 21-member Punjab cabinet took oath at Governor’s House on Monday. Governor Syed Ahmed Mahmud administered the oath, although there were reports that President Asif Ali Zardari had accepted his resignation from the office tendered earlier.

In the previous tenure (2008-13) when a coalition of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the Pakistan People’s Party was ruling the province, the cabinet consisted of 16 members. Its strength was reduced to nine when the PPP was forced out of the coalition.

According to a notification, Raja Ashfaq Sarwar has been assigned the portfolio of labour and human resources; Rana Sana local government and community development with additional charge of law and parliamentary affairs; Rana Mashhood school education with additional charge of higher education and youth affairs, sports, archaeology and tourism; Mujtaba Shuja finance with additional charge of excise and taxation; Bilal Yasin food; Iqbal Channar cooperatives; Yawar Zaman irrigation; Atta Manika social welfare and Baitul Maal; Nadeem Kamran Zakat and Ushr; Shuja Khanzada environment protection; Tanveer Aslam housing, urban development & public health engineering; Sher Ali energy with additional charge of mines and mineral; Farrukh Javed agriculture; Haroon Sultan auqaf and religious affairs; Asif Manais special education; Khalil Sindhu human rights and minorities with additional charge of health; Zakia Shah Nawaz population welfare, Hameeda Waheed women’s development; Abdul Waheed prisons; Asif Malik forestry, wildlife and fisheries, and Chaudhary Shafique industries, commerce and investment.

Of them only four – Rana Sana, Nadeem Kamran, Mujtaba Shuja and Iqbal Channar – also remained members of the previous cabinet, while Rana Mashood was deputy speaker.

Congratulating the cabinet, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said he hoped they would come up to the expectations of the people and discharge their responsibilities efficiently.

Talking to the media, he said all areas of the province were given representation in the cabinet.

APPOINTED: Chief Minister Shahbaz Shahbaz has appointed Chaudhry Muhammad Arshad, Rai Haider Ali Khan and Rana Maqbool Ahmed as his special assistants. A notification has been issued in this regard.

Also, Sharif has appointed Azm ul Haq as his adviser, says a handout issued here on Monday.