ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s 47-member cabinet was expanded further on Sunday after he approved the appointment of five advisers and head of the Planning Commission.

According to a statement issued by the PM Office, Sartaj Aziz has been appointed deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, with the status of a federal minister. Mr Aziz was earlier an adviser to the PM on foreign affairs, in the absence of a fully fledged foreign minister.

The position was previously held by Ahsan Iqbal, who has now been entrusted with the all-important task of managing the affairs of Interior Division.

Retired Lt Gen Nasser Janjua has been reinstated as the National Security Adviser, the post he held before the Nawaz Sharif cabinet was dissolved.

In addition, four advisers to the PM were appointed without being allocated any portfolio. The advisers are PML-N leaders Amir Muqam, Sardar Mehtab, Jam Mashooq Ali and Irfan Siddiqui, who was an adviser to Mr Sharif for national and literary heritage.

Separately, PM Abbasi met Wang Yang, the vice-premier of the State Council of People’s Republic of China, who called on him at the PM House.

Mr Wang congratulated Mr Abbasi on Pakistan’s 70th anniversary celebrations and stressed that his visit demonstrated the close strategic relations between the two “iron brothers” and China’s strong support for Pakistan.

He also thanked Pakistan for its consistent support to China on issues that were of importance to it.

After their meeting, the two officials witnessed the inauguration of energy and infrastructure projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the signing of agreements between the two countries.

Published in Dawn, August 14th, 2017

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