ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s 43-strong cabinet is a blend of new and old faces, with Mushahidullah Khan being the only one to have staged a comeback two years after he lost his ministry following a controversial interview with the BBC.
In the interview, the minister had claimed that the former Inter-Services Intelligence Chief Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam had wanted to overthrow the civilian government during Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s sit-in in 2014.
According to Mr Khan, when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met former army chief Gen Raheel Sharif on July 28, 2014, they heard an audio tape where Gen Islam could be heard giving orders to ransack Prime Minister House and create chaos.
A son of former president Sardar Farooq Leghari, Awais, is a new addition in the cabinet. He was not a member of Mr Sharif’s cabinet but held a ministerial portfolio in Gen Pervez Musharraf’s government.
In the 2008 elections, he ran for a National Assembly seat from NA-173 (D.G. Khan III) on the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) ticket but lost. However, he won a seat from NA-172 in 2010 which was vacated due to his father’s demise.
He won the 2013 elections from NA-173 — this time on a ticket awarded by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Though he has taken the oath as a federal minister, he has not yet been allocated any portfolio.
Adjacent to the young Leghari’s seat is Hafiz Abdul Kareem of the PML-N, another cabinet newcomer from NA-172 (D.G. Khan II) . He was elected as member of the NA for the first time and had previously lost the 2008 elections from D.G. Khan.
Interestingly, this is the first time in the country’s history that two federal ministers from D.G. Khan have been inducted into the cabinet.
Maulana Ameer Zaman of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) has also joined the cabinet. He won the 2013 elections from NA-263 (Loralai). Earlier, the seat was won by Israr Khan Tareen of the PML-Q in the 2008 polls and Yaqub Khan Nasar of the PML-N in the 2002 elections.
Syed Javed Ali Shah of the PML-N has also been inducted into the new cabinet. He became a member of the provincial assembly from PP-168 on a Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) ticket in 1988. He was senator from 2006 to 2012. Back in the 2002 elections, he lost from NA-152 (Multan V) but won from the same constituency in the 2013 general elections.
Another new face in the cabinet is the PML-N’s Pervaiz Malik. He won the 2002 general elections from NA-120 (Lahore) on a party ticket. He was re-elected as MNA in a by-poll in NA-123. He also won the 2013 polls from the same constituency.
Mr Malik’s sister, Yasmeen Rehman, has been a PPP MNA. He is the younger brother of Malik Abdul Qayyum, the former attorney general for Pakistan.
Retired Lt Gen Salahuddin Tirmizi is the only new entry from retired army officers in politics. He has held important positions during his military career. He served as a corps commander and president of the National Defence University.
Other new faces inducted in the cabinet include Ministers of State Talal Chaudhry, Abdul Rehman Khan Kanju, Dr Darshan, Ghalib Khan, Mohsin Shah Nawaz Ranjha, Haji Muhammad Akram Ansari and Sardar Arshad Khan Leghari.
Published in Dawn, August 5th, 2017