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PMLN finalises 15-member Punjab cabinet

Ali Raza
Tuesday, Mar 05, 2024

LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) has finalised its initial list of 15 ministers to be part of the Punjab cabinet, with the oath-taking scheduled for the ongoing week.

Party sources reveal that, in addition to regular MPAs, the party is considering former federal minister Rana Sanaullah Khan for a position in Punjab as an adviser to the CM on law. However, Rana Sanaullah has yet to consent to this portfolio.

Furthermore, former senator Pervaiz Rashid is reportedly attached to Punjab’s first female Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz for guidance in government affairs due to her lack of experience. Sources suggest Pervaiz Rashid may be appointed as a special adviser to the CM.

PMLN leader Nawaz Sharif has purportedly decided to involve former federal minister Marriyum Aurangzeb with his daughter Maryam Nawaz in Punjab. Marriyum Aurangzeb may oversee the ministries of planning and development and forestry.

The first phase of the Punjab cabinet’s ministers is expected to take oath in the next two or three days. However, sources indicate that this initial phase may not include any ministers from minority seats, contradicting previous claims made by the party leadership during pre-election meetings and speeches.

In the proposed Punjab cabinet, Azma Bukhari may serve as provincial information minister, Khawaja Imran Nazir as primary health minister, Bilal Yasin as food minister, and Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman as minister for excise and taxation.

Other expected appointments include Khalid Jaja as minister of agriculture, Faisal Ayub as minister of housing and sports, Salman Naeem and Rana Iskandar Hayat.

Sources also suggest that Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain’s son Shafay Hussain may be appointed a minister in the first phase of the cabinet.

Additionally, individuals associated with Hamza Shehbaz or considered part of his team are reportedly not being considered for the Punjab cabinet.

PMLN sources indicate that a significant reshuffle in Punjab’s bureaucracy is being considered. Interviews with officers have reportedly begun, and many government officials are seeking political support to retain or obtain lucrative positions.

When reached for comment, PMLN Punjab Information Secretary Azma Bukhari said that the party is finalising cabinet member names, with an announcement expected soon.

Regarding the presence of former senator Pervaiz Rashid with Maryam Nawaz, Bukhari clarified that Rashid will serve as a senior adviser to the CM on political matters. She also denied any internal party divisions, asserting that decisions made by party leader Nawaz Sharif would be considered final.