ISLAMABAD: Three members of the erstwhile South Punjab Front, which merged with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) before the general elections, have made it into the new Punjab cabinet.
They include Makhdoom Hashim Bakht of Rahim Yar Khan, Samiullah Chaudhry of Bahawalpur and Husnain Dareshak of Rajanpur. Mohsin Leghari, also an MPA from Rajanpur, also hails from southern Punjab.
Of them, Hashim Bakht was allocated the key ministry of finance in the provincial cabinet. Another high-point of his cabinet induction is that he is the brother of Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, who has been made the federal minister for planning, development and reforms.
Raja Basharat (Rawalpindi), who has long been associated with the PML-Q, had this time contested the election on the PTI ticket while maintaining his membership of the PML-Q. He has been given the portfolio of law and parliamentary affairs, which he had held during the Pervez Elahi administration under the rule of Pervez Musharraf.
More than one third of the ministers are former members of the Pervez Elahi cabinet. Two of them were members of the PML-Nawaz cabinet. Members of the PTI old guard inducted into the Punjab cabinet include Mian Mehmoodur Rashid, Aleem Khan and Mian Aslam Iqbal.
While more than a dozen districts have not been given representation in the provincial cabinet, more than one minister has been selected from Lahore (five) Rawalpindi (three), Chakwal (two), Rajanpur (two) and Kasur (two).
The new ministers hail from the districts of Lahore, Faisalabad, Rahim Yar Khan, Bahawalpur, Rawalpindi, Mianwali, Kasur, Chakwal, Sahiwal, Rajanpur, Attock, Jhang and Sargodha. No representation has been given to the districts of Multan, Okara, Muzaffargarh, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Layyah, Bahawalnagar, Lodhran, Dera Ghazi Khan, Jhelum, Bhakkar, Mandi Bahauddin and Vehari.
Similarly, no minority member has been inducted in the cabinet. There is only one woman, Dr Yasmin Rashid, who was defeated in NA-125 Lahore by PML-N candidate Waheed Alam. She was subsequently elected to the Punjab Assembly on a seat reserved for women.
Three lawmakers previously mentioned as prospective Punjab chief ministers – Raja Yasir Humayun Sarfraz, Makhdoom Hashim Bakht and Sibtan Khan - have been included in the cabinet.
Chaudhry Zaheeruddin, who remained with the PML-Q for decades but left it on the eve of the July 25 polls, has been inducted into the cabinet. He was elected from Faisalabad. Another important induction is that of Faizul Hassan Chouhan (Rawalpindi), who is known for his participation in TV talk shows. He has been allotted the information and culture portfolio.