LAHORE: First meeting of Punjab cabinet will take place on Friday (today) with Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar in chair.
The meeting has been convened with a gap of around four days since the 23-member cabinet took oath. Besides, in another development on Thursday, Senior Minister Abdul Aleem Khan, who also holds the portfolio of Local Government Minister, was allotted office at 90-Shahrah, The Mall.
This office had been used by former Chief Ministers Shahbaz Sharif, Ch Pervaiz Elahi, former Senior Adviser Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa and Abdul Aleem Khan will be the first PTI figure who has been allotted the office there. On the first day of the allotment, Abdul Aleem Khan was also called on by members of his party including MNA Shaukat Bhatti, former MNA Nadim Afzal Chan, former MPAs Arif Abbasi, Asif Mehmood and others.
This is interesting to note that the new cabinet led by Usman Buzdar comprises many first timers including the CM himself. Buzdar’s name, according to sources, was proposed by central party leader Jahangir Khan Tareen.
Besides, there are also those who have been awarded ministries for the first time, though they have returned to PA for more than one term. The members who have taken oath as ministers and got elected as MPAs for the first time include Dr Yasmin Rashid, Hafiz Ammar Yasir, Mumtaz Ahmed, Raja Yasir Humayon Sarfaraz, Ansar Majeed Niazi and Malik Anwer. The MPAs, who have been elected for more than one term but took oath as ministers for first time, include Mehmood ul Rasheed, Mohsin Leghari, Hashim Jawan Bakht, Dr Murad Raas, Fayyaz Chuhan.
Those who have also held the office of minister in the past include Raja Basharat, Chaudhry Zaheer, Sibtain Khan, Aslam Iqbal, Hasnain Bahadur and Abdul Aleem Khan. As far as loyalty and standing with PTI is concerned, Mian Mehmood ul Rasheed and Dr Murad Raas have almost more than 15 years long affiliation with PTI whereas most of the others like Abdul Aleem Khan, Aslam Iqbal, Fayyaz Chuhan, Raja Basharat, Chaudhry Zaheer joined Imran after suffering defeats either in 2008 or 2013 general elections as the candidates of Q league.
Figures like Hashim Jawan, Hasnain Bahadur, Mohsin Leghari and the Chief Minister himself joined PTI just a few months before the July 2018 polls. In the cabinet that comprises mostly new ministers, this is very likely that Senior Minister Abdul Aleem Khan, being a blue-eyed boy of Imran Khan will remain a prominent figure as compared to the first timer Usman Buzdar. Abdul Aleem Khan, before the nomination of Buzdar as Chief Minister, was also dubbed as would be CM.
However, at the same time, he also remained in news for his pending cases in NAB and sources stated this became the main reason why he wasn’t chosen for the slot. Nevertheless, Imran Khan, while superseding a senior figure in party like Mian Mehmood ul Rasheed, also a four-time elected MPAs, made Abdul Aleem Khan a Senior Minister besides giving him an important ministry in the cabinet whose future role in Punjab affairs is very much predictable.