ISLAMABAD, Sept 5: The ministers of state appointed by the government belong to well-established political families with some of them having graduated from foreign educational institutions.

Following is a brief backgrounder of educational qualifications of these ministers of state: Minister of State for Education Division, Ghulam Bibi Bharwana, is the youngest amongst her ministerial colleagues who is yet to complete her legal education. Born on May 5, 1977, Ms Bharwana completed her BA from Lahore College for Women followed by Part-1 of the LLB degree from Punjab University.

Minister of State for Commerce Division, Hamid Yar Hiraj, is an immigration consultant by profession who completed his BSc and MSc degrees in 1995 from the University of Pennsylvania followed by an MA degree in legal studies from Columbia University USA in 1999.

Born on December 10, 1972, Mr Hiraj was elected from NA-157 Khanewal-II as an independent candidate. Having previously served as minister of state for health in the government, Hamid Yar Hiraj has been reshuffled to the Commerce Division whereas his legislative interests include education, foreign affairs and health.

Minister of State for Defence, Zahid Hamid Khan, was born on October 24, 1947 in Lahore. Elected from NA-114 Sialkot-V, Zahid Hamid completed his BA Honours and MA from Cambridge University UK and LLB degree from Punjab University. Zahid Hamid is a lawyer by profession and has been a civil servant and an industrialist with legislative interests in environment, finance and law.

Minister of State for Economic Affairs Division, Hina Rabbani Khar, was born on January 19, 1977 in Multan. After doing BSc Honours from Lahore University of Management Sciences in 1999, Ms Khar did her MSc in Management from University of Massachusetts USA in 2001.

Elected from NA-177 Muzaffargarh-II, Ms Khar is single and enjoys riding, reading and travelling, with legislative interests in agricultural development, economic affairs and finance.

Minister of State for Environment Division, Malik Amin Aslam, was born in Karachi on November 27, 1966 and elected from NA-57, Attock-I. His educational qualifications include a BSc Electrical Engineering from UET Lahore in 1990, MBA Finance from McGill University Canada 1993 followed by an MSc in Environmental Management from Oxford University in 1996. His legislative interests include environment, foreign affairs and science and technology.

Minister of State for Finance, Omar Ayub Khan, was born on January 26, 1970, and got his BBA and MBA degrees from the George Washington University USA in 1993 and 1996 respectively. Elected from NA-19, Haripur, his legislative interests include defence, finance and foreign affairs.

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Division, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, was born on July 7, 1969 and got elected from NA-149 R.Y Khan-III on a PML-Q ticket. He graduated from the University of Punjab in 1990, followed by receiving an LLB (Hons.) degree in 1994 from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a Bar-at-Law degree from Lincoln's Inn UK in 1995. His areas of legislative interests include education, finance and foreign affairs.

Minister of State for Food, Agriculture and Livestock Division, Muhammad Ali Malkani, was born on November 22, 1966 in Village Raj Malik and got elected from NA-238, Thatta-II. On his first stint as an MNA, he graduated in 1987 from University of Sindh.

Minister of State for Health Division, Begum Shahnaz Sheikh, was born on April 9, 1951 and got elected to the National Assembly for the second time. With legislative interests in health, population and housing, she completed her bachelors degree from Lahore College for Women in 1973.

Minister of State for Housing and Works, Sardar Muhammad Asif Nakai, holds a BA degree from Punjab University and was elected from NA-141 Kasur-IV. Minister of State for Industries, Production and Special Initiatives Division, Ali Nawaz Khan Mehr, was born on October 27, 1945 and has been member of the provincial and national assemblies previously.

Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecommunications Division, Ali Asjad Malhi, was born in Lahore on February 22, 1975 and got elected from NA-113, Sialkot-IV. He holds a Master's degree in Design from the National Council of Arts in 1998.

Minister of State for Law, Justice and Human Rights Division, Ch Shahid Akram Bhinder, was born on October 14, 1951 in Gujrat and holds an LLB degree from Punjab University.

Minister of State for Local Government and Rural development Division, Zafar Iqbal Warraich, was born on February 9, 1948 in Rahim Yar Khan and holds an LLB degree from Punjab University.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Division, Raza Hayat Harraj, was born on July 21, 1969 and got his LLB degree from University of Leicester UK in 1992. Minister of State for Privatisation and Investment Division, Umar Ahmad Ghumman, was born on February 10, 1971 and has completed a BA in Economics from University of Pennsylvania in 1996.

Minister of State for Railways Division, Ishaq Khan Khakwani, was born on April 15, 1949 in Multan and holds a BSc degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Engineering and Technology Lahore.

Minister of State for Religious Affairs and Zakat and Ushar Division, Dr Amir Liaquat Hussain was born on July 5, 1971 at Karachi and holds a PhD degree in Islamic Studies from Malaya, Spain, in 2002.

Minister of State for Tourism Division, Sumaira Malik, was born on December 19, 1963 and holds an MA in Political Science from Punjab University. Minister of State for Water and Power Division, Engr Amir Muqam, was born in Shangla, Swat, on July 25, 1963. He holds a BSc Engineering degree from the University of Engineering and Technology, Peshawar.

Besides the MNAs, Senators Dr Shahzad Waseem, Tariq Azeem Khan, Naseer Khan Mengal and Anisa Zeb Tahirkheli have been appointed ministers of state for Interior Division, Overseas Pakistanis Division, Petroleum and Natural Resources Division and Information and Broadcasting respectively.

Meanwhile, Dr Salman Shah's appointment as adviser to the prime minister on financial matters with the status of federal minister took many officials and ministers by surprise.

Son-in-law of former chief of the army staff Gen Asif Nawaz, Dr Shah has served as consultant to different governments. However, till late night, the relevant public spokespersons were groping in the dark to gather background information about Dr Salman Shah and his profile.

Dawn sources said Dr Shah was a Lahore-based economist who was removed from his post as chairman privatization commission after the caretaker government of Malik Mairaj Khalid completed its tenure.

They said Dr Salman Shah had been member of various task forces appointed by the government but due to lack of political mandate, the recommendations could not be implemented.

Holding a PhD in Economics, Dr Shah has been on the board of governors of Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) and has served as consultant to various governments including those of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

He is said to have served as member of Central Board of Directors of the State Bank during 2002-2003. Moreover, a source said he served as member on PIA's Board along with Nawid Ahsan, secretary finance and Air Marshal (retired) Salim Arshad, director-general Civil Aviation Authority.

According to a source, Dr Shah was appointed a member of the Task Force on Investment by Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh which gave recommendations to the Board of Investment to increase investments in the country. Dr Shah headed the regional task forces of Karachi and Lahore regions for the BOI under Dr Hafeez Sheikh.

Sources said Dr Salman Shah also acted as Punjab's consultant on National Finance Commission (NFC) project which prepared Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi's Economic Vision 2020 plan.

In an article titled 'Saving Disgrace' published in an Indian magazine, 'Outlook' on July 23, 2001, Dr Salman Shah outlined his economic vision for Pakistan and since then had also been doing some consultancy work for the finance ministry, the Asian Development Bank and other institutions in his private capacity.


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