LAHORE: As many as 23 newly-appointed members of the Punjab cabinet on Monday took oath of their respective offices at a ceremony held at the Governor House, where acting governor Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi administered oath to them in the presence of Chief Minister Usman Buzdar.
The ministers who took oath are: Abdul Aleem Khan, Hafiz Mumtaz Ahmad, Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht, Samiullah Chaudhry, Fayazul Hasan Chohan, Muhammad Sibtain Khan, Sardar Muhammad Asif Nakai, Hafiz Ammar Yasir, Yasir Humayun, Mian Mahmoodur Rasheed, Mian Aslam Iqbal, Malik Nauman Ahmad Langrial, Murad Rass, Chaudhry Zaheerud Din, Ansar Majeed Khan Niazi and Muhammad Hashim Dogar.
The cabinet members have been picked from 13 districts, including five ministers from Lahore and three from Rawalpindi. Two ministers each have been taken from Chakwal, Kasur, Faisalabad and Rajanpur, while, one each has been taken from Attock, Mianwali, Sargodha, Jhang, Sahiwal, Bahawalpur and Rahim Yar Khan districts.
Dr Yasmin Rashid is the only one woman member of the cabinet, who was given a reserved seat.
The cabinet of the largest province in the country has no minority member.
While 23 ministers took oath, the Punjab government initially notified portfolios of only 15 of them. According to the notification, Aleem Khan has been appointed senior minister with the portfolio of Local Government and Community Development (LG&CD). Mian Aslam Iqbal will be minister for industries, commerce and investment sector and Mian Mahmoodur Rasheed got the portfolio of housing, urban development and public health engineering. Dr Yasmin Rashid will spearhead the primary and secondary healthcare/specialised healthcare and medical education departments, while Murad Rass has been given the charge of school education department.
Raja Basharat from Rawalpindi has been given the portfolio of law and parliamentary affairs. He has also served as Punjab law minister during Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi’s Punjab government (2002-2007). Fayazul Hasan Chohan has been notified as information and culture minister.
Mr Yasir Humayun from Chakwal will lead the higher education and tourism departments.
Similarly, Taimoor Khan, who was elected as an independent from PP-124 (Jhang) and later joined the PTI, has been inducted as youth affairs and sports minister. Hafiz Mumtaz Ahmad from Faisalabad got the charge of excise, taxation and narcotics control.
Ansar Majeed Niazi from Sargodha has been given the portfolio of labour and manpower. Sardar Asif Nakai from Kasur got the portfolio of communication and works.
Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht from Rahim Yar Khan has been given the finance portfolio, while Samiullah Chaudhry from Bahawalpur has been given food department’s charge. Mohsin Leghari from Rajanpur got the portfolio of irrigation.
Following Prime Minister Imran Khan’s instructions regarding austerity measures, Aleem Khan announced resigning from the offices he was holding in his private companies and businesses. He also refused to take the official car, besides announcing that he would continue donating his salary (now as a minister) to the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre.
Following this initiative, some other ministers, including Mr Hasnain Dareshak, have also announced they won’t use their official vehicle and fuel.
Aleem Khan, a Ravian, had begun his political career in Gen Pervez Musharraf’s regime in 2002 and was elected MPA in a by-election in 2003. He served as information technology minister till 2008 and introduced computerised number plates of vehicles as well as e-working in government offices. Mr Khan joined the PTI in 2012 and was elected as the party’s Lahore president. He was appointed PTI central Punjab president in 2016. He contested by-election against former speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Ayaz Sadiq (NA-122) and lost the contest.
Mian Aslam Iqbal, a Quaid-e-Azam University graduate, began his political career as a union council nazim in 2001. He also served as chairman of community development in the city district government of Lahore as well as a member of police Liaison committee Lahore. After one and a half year he resigned as UC nazim and contested election from PP-148 as an independent candidate in 2002 and got elected as an MPA. In Pervaiz Elahi government, he served as tourism minister. Later, he joined the PTI, got elected MPA in 2013 and played a vital role as the deputy opposition leader as well as member of the Public Accounts Committee of the Punjab Assembly. He was again elected MPA on a PTI ticket in July 25 general elections.
Dr Yasmin Rashid has been a consultant, researcher and teacher, besides having a wide-ranging experience as a health activist in different capacities.
Besides the ministers, the PTI government has also inducted Muhammad Akram Chaudhry as advisor to the chief minister.
At the oath-taking ceremony, Chief Minister Usman Buzdar congratulated the ministers and said all the areas in the province had been given representation in the cabinet. He hoped the ministers would fulfill their responsibilities and come up to the expectations of the people.
The ceremony was attended by assembly members, PTI leaders and workers. Additional chief secretary, IG, administrative secretaries and other officials concerned were also present on the occasion.
Published in Dawn, August 28th, 2018