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Can the new cabinet take on Pakistan's challenges?


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Newly-elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s cabinet was sworn in today (Thursday). Amongst  some of his party PML-N’s biggest names have been handed key portfolios to take on the daunting task of managing governance in Pakistan for the next five years.

Amongst some of the party stalwarts who now hold ministry portfolios are Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Ishaq Dar, Khawaja Muhammad Asif and Pervez Rashid. Many others have also been sworn in, although their portfolios have not been named yet.

Some key portfolios, however, are as follows: Interior ministry goes to Nisar, Information Ministry to Rashid, Finance ministry to Dar, Water and Power Ministry to Asif, Petroleum Ministry to Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and Law Ministry to Zahid Hamid.

Each of these ministries has a  key role to play in the development of Pakistan over this government’s tenure – in addressing the stagnant economy, the crippling power crisis, the fuel shortage, the relationship with the media and judiciary, and so on.

Do you think the people chosen are apt for the job? What are the key issues these ministers need to address within their portfolios, first and foremost? And is there anyone missing from the cabinet who you think should have been an integral part? invites its readers to share its views.

Comments (21) Closed

Emm Jun 07, 2013 06:40pm
The energy crisis besides militancy is the key one to tackle. Tough call for Khwaja Asif. First step is to divert gas to more efficient power plants. CNG will unfortunately have to be even further curtailed. Just as important is to minimize line losses and theft ----- a very tall order but it can be done. We as customers pay Rs 9 per unit and the Govt spends Rs 11 per unit so unless we need to become efficient or the the subsidy and circular debt will rise again. Enough for now!
Rizwan Hamid USA Jun 07, 2013 06:48pm
A Prime Minister however brilliant, is neither knowledgeable nor an expert in all fields. For that he needs his ministers. The inherent problem with our political system is the rule that only MNAs can be appointed ministers. A rule no doubt made on the behest of party members so they may partake in the spoils of war so to speak. Most brilliant men in their fields are not in politics. In Pakistan, portfolios are shuffled and doled out like candy, instead of it being an automatic choice based on qualifications. ( A powerful feudal lord elected an MNA is not capable of running a ministry) Ministers in turn depend on career bureaucrats in the ministry for input, who themselves are paper shufflers hoping from ministry to ministry every 2 to 3 years. How on earth can they know anything meaningful about any subject.. In the US and all European countries, the ministers are picked from the private sector with proven visionary leadership, so they may independently take the initiative and come up with solutions to the problems on hand.In Pakistan too, during the Ayub Khan regime, ministers were not career politicians, and bureaucrats were honed and mostly kept in their field of expertise. Pakistan is facing near collapse in all sectors, financial, economic, energy, trade , internal security and education to name a few. It is time to tell the Muslim League-N MNAs that country must come first, so only experts in their field will be appointed ministers. They shall have to wait for their flag cars and VVIP protocols they cherish above all else. A sincere person, having to solve the problems would shudder at the thought of accepting a ministry if he knew he had to truly answer for his performance.
G.A. Jun 07, 2013 08:51pm
Not sure. After all, they're Pakistani ministers.
Salma Khan Jun 07, 2013 08:41pm
Why should the gov expect the consumers to pay, when it itself is in default as far as power bills are concerned.
Salma Khan Jun 07, 2013 08:38pm
All appointees are reputably "for sale"!
Mushtaq Ahmed Jun 08, 2013 12:39am
Well said Mr. Rizwan Hamid ! I bet they will mess up further. They are good for talk shows only. After making blunders and waste of public money for about a year , they will be reshuffled to try another ministry. We are in for another inglorious 5 years.
Waqas Jun 08, 2013 02:04am
Ministers themselves include Prime minister have outstanding cases against them in NAB. How can they fight corruption unless they turn themselves in first.
kenny Jun 08, 2013 02:19am
not at all they r here to grab money and do their 5 years and out
J. Malik Jun 08, 2013 04:55am
This is historic. Mian with his experience along with ministers who have a track record of hard work and accomplishments. Dar being chartered accountant, Asif with his experience in banking&commerce, Abbasi with his engineering mindset. It does look like an interesting mix. Time will tell the story more precisely and accurately, but to me this cabinet does have the potential to deliver and act swiftly in order to resolve this whole mess. That being said, I reckon more interaction and coordination is required with the international community. We need to learn from our neighbors as well and try to improve the sorry state we currently find ourselves in. In the area of stable energy supply its positive to hear that Iran is helping Pakistan build a refinery in Gwadar and would also provide gas to this hungry nation. However, its about time that we import the talent we have sitting overseas and work on improving the industrial setup. Mian could seek help from China, or for that matter India to set-up Coal power plants in the provinces and have a stable infrastructure for power supply. The whole world is using Coal as a fuel, its cheap and reliable, but we just haven't paid attention and lacked behind in the infrastructure side of things. Alternatively, workshops and seminars should be organised where the local developers and Engineers collaborate with the overseas organisations to effectively design and deliver renewable energy sources. Biogas, Wind Farms, Solar are just to name a few which can deliver substantial energy to the homes, if not to the industrial sector. Once the energy and security is sorted; the investor will jump in automatically. There is so much potential in various industries and it has to be exploited, resulting in jobs and economic prosperity. For example, Pakistan is worlds 4th largest producer of Milk and yet we have to import powdered milk to the country. The textile industry could have been a giant by now had it not been struck by the energy shortfall. It's about time that Khwaja sahab along with his others ministers import investor confidence into the country and magnify the magnitude of industrial production. The potential exists for the country to expand and improve, but a clear plan is necessary. It's imperative for any economy to have the basic tools to thrive. I am not an economist or a finance strategist, but from the technical perspective, I would imagine the nation does possess expertise. However, the confession to the existence of such a crisis is required and work needs to be done to improve the situation. I sincerely hope the next five years will improve the situation because in this time and age only an industrial economy can support the country and the fundamentals need to be organised for people to explore future opportunities.
Farooq Ali Jun 08, 2013 05:47am
No doubt the challenges are many and some are chronic , but the new set up is there to do that, I am optimistic due to identification of following factors. which the govt can learn from past era. 1. Learn from the experiences of previous two set ups for example don,t take a stand against honorable judges of the superior courts. 2. Make NAB Stronger and honest , and avoid interference in its matters. 3. Step wise reduction and time scale for end of VIP culture and classes from the society as these are the breeding grounds of corruption. 4,Paradigm shift that local govt members and people themselves can solve a number of issues and the Prime Minister will not come to your locality to change a transformer. 5. Initiate countrywide campaign with the help of people against Killer Bikes and wipe them as soon as possible as the criminals most effective tool which has helped in killing and looting of thousands of innocent citizens, even women and children were not spared, perhaps they have killed more people then our enemy would have. The above is drawn from our experience of past two set ups.
SMAJ Jun 08, 2013 07:52am
No one is capable of dealing with any issues or problems in Pakistan from the newly elected Govt. Pakistani people are blind and can never elect or select their leader(s) for the benefit of the country. Every single person only votes for a particular party leader for his own loyalties or on the basis of the benefits he or she getting from them.
SMAJ Jun 08, 2013 09:03am
No one is capable of dealing with any issues or problems in Pakistan from the newly elected Govt. Pakistani people are blind and can never elect or select their leader(s) for the benefit of the country. Every single person only votes for a particular party leader for his own loyalties or on the basis of the benefits he or she getting from them.
Khalid Jun 08, 2013 11:48am
Dear Rizwan, I think you have hit the nail on its head. The only serious problem Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz Group has is the fact that all portfolios are now going to be distributed based on how much loyalty the person (who will be given the portfolio) has towards Nawaz Sharif. Combined with the fact that, brothers, sons & daughters, nephews, son-in-laws have to be rewarded for obvious reasons, I wonder if Nawaz Sharif would be discussing in public as to why a particular portfolio has been given to someone?. I run a business and I know if I chose anyone based on anything other than merit, my business is going to fail and that scares me. On the other hand these politicians have nothing to lose if the chose the worst possible candidate for the job. It is after all, not their own money they are playing with.
Tariq Jun 09, 2013 02:16pm
The old faces, and people. No new ideas or vision. How can you one expect anything positive?
Tanvr Afgan Jun 08, 2013 04:50pm
Except for Sartaj Aziz, Ahsan Iqbal, Khwaja Asif and the General from Baluchistan, the others do not transpire confidence.And have these people heard of conflict of interest like the new Speaker doing business with Railways and sitting on the Railways |Committee; or for the guy sitting on aviation and owning a ground handling Company.
AQS Jun 09, 2013 05:47am
Ministries have exceptional role in making country progressive provided that right person should be appointed on right place, no wonder PMN has tried his best to select the much needed person for given tasks, but one important thing to mention, solution comes after when you know which are key factors that worsens the system, it is all about knowledge power and ability to understand things according to their necessity. Although these ministers want to do some thing productive but unless you do not have sufficient knowledge to recognize essential factors you can
Syed Jun 09, 2013 08:05am
"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results" Albert Einstein
FactCheck Jun 09, 2013 11:55am
You should ask the question after 120 days to allow people to see ideas and action. At this point, mere speculation. First question for me would be, is the new administration leveling with the people? Second is, are they setting realistic expectations, instead saying Pakistan is the greatest place on planet earth and insulting people
Zain Khattak Jun 09, 2013 03:24am
I think it will difficult for Nawaz led Cabinet to resolve the problems of common mass of Pakistan.We have faced different problems at different fronts.Pakistani peoples have no sense of democracy so they elected Nawaz.They missing some heavy weight from KPK. As concerned to cabinet it is not balanced.There is no Pakhtun Minister in Federal cabinet which shows Nawaz mentality.
Malick Jun 09, 2013 01:32pm
Ms Memon Marvi is missing she should be given ministry of Deffence. Similarly Foreign ministry affairs should be given to Ms Marium Nawaz .
gangadin Jun 09, 2013 10:21am
Has to be better than the previous one.