ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Monday claimed to have addressed “reservations” of the allies in the ruling coalition after which the first phase of the long-awaited induction of a 34-member cabinet will take place on Tuesday (today).

Meanwhile, the oath-taking ceremony of cabinet members was scheduled to be held on Monday, but it was learnt that President Arif Alvi had refused to administer the oath to the lawmakers, compelling the government to postpone the ceremony to Tuesday 11am.

Now, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani is expected to administer the oath to at least 29 federal ministers and four ministers of state.

Chaudhry Tariq Bashir Cheema of PML-Q, while expected to be in the cabinet, will not take oath today.

29 federal, four state ministers to take oath from Senate chairman today

A source in the government said President Arif Alvi would also not attend Tuesday’s ceremony and Senate Chairman Sanjrani will administer the oath to the members.

The source said President Alvi will again go on leave on Tuesday on the pretext of an illness so that Mr Sanjrani could perform the duty.

On the other hand, some government allies are still said to be “unsatisfied” over the demands they had extended to the government regarding distribution of ministries and other lucrative positions.

It has been learnt that the Balochistan National Party (BNP) and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) may not join the cabinet on Tuesday, as the BNP has accused the government of not preventing violent incidents in the province, such as the recent firing on protesters in Chagai.

However, the government’s spokesperson, Ms Aurangzeb, said the list of cabinet members had yet to be finalised, hinting that last-minute changes could be made before the oath-taking ceremony.

Similarly, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has demanded immediate general elections after being annoyed over the non-fulfillment of his demands regarding distribution of ministries and some constitutional posts like the offices of the president and Senate chairman.

Ruling PML-N leader Khawaja Asif claimed in a private TV show that all reservations of the coalition partners had been addressed and the oath-taking ceremony would be held on Tuesday.

He revealed the names of some of the PML-N leaders who were set to take up ministries in the new cabinet: Ahsan Iqbal is likely to get the Ministry of Planning and Development, Azam Nazir Tarar law, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi energy, while Ayaz Sadiq will get the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Earlier, it was informally announced that Marriyum Aurangzeb would be given the portfolio of information minister and Rana Sanaullah the interior minister despite opposition within the ruling PML-N, and Miftah Ismail was said to be made the finance minister or adviser.

Mr Asif claimed PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari would be given the Foreign Ministry. However, a PPP leader told Dawn that the party chairman was not joining the cabinet in the first phase being announced on Tuesday and might opt for a ministry after a few days.

Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2022

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