LAHORE: Nine more ministers have been inducted in the cabinet of Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar and after which the total number of provincial ministers in the province has reached 32.
None of the new ministers who have been inducted in the Punjab cabinet is among the pioneer members of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and include those who served as the members of Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi cabinet between 2002 and 2008 or those who joined PTI after quitting PML-N just a few months before 2018 polls.
According to the notification, the nine new members of Chief Minister Usman Buzdar’s cabinet include Sahibzada Saeed-ul-Hassan Rizvi (PP-46, Narowal), Mehr Muhammad Aslam (PP-127, Jhang), Syed Hussain Jahania Gardezi (PP-204, Khanewal), Muhammad Akhlaque (PP-36, Sialkot), Muhammad Ajmal (PP-97, Faisalabad), Ms Ashifa Riaz (PP-122, Toba Tek Singh), Shaukat Laleka (PP-2238, Bahawalnagar), Zawar Warraich (PP-224, Lodhran) and Ijaz Masih, who has been elected against a seat reserved for minorities. According to sources, Ijaz Masih belongs to the camp of senior minister Abdul Aleem Khan and his close confidant, Shoaib Siddiqi. Three members have been picked from Southern Punjab and finally, the cabinet also got representation of a minority member.
Members, including Saeed-ul-Hassan Rizvi, Hussain Jahania Gardezi, Mehr Aslam are amongst those who joined PTI after getting elected as independent candidates and were also seen either in Jehangir Khan Tareen’s jet or signing an undertaking of loyalty before the PTI formed government in Punjab.
In the 32-member Punjab Cabinet now, only two figures have 15 years or more standing with PTI, including Mian Mehmood-ul-Rasheed and Dr Murad Raas. Punjab Assembly members like Saadia Sohail, Shamsa Ali who are amongst the PTI pioneers and standing with Imran Khan for last 22 years have not been chosen as ministers or even adviser or political assistant.
Akram Chaudhry, a political adviser to the chief minister is one of the pioneer members of PTI but he quit PTI in critical days and spent almost a decade with PML-Q while Pervez Musharraf-backed party was in power. Chaudhry Akram rejoined PTI after quitting PML-Q at a time when Q-League was in crisis and PTI was going towards the period of boom. In this way, 90 percent of the present Punjab cabinet comprised of the members who joined the PTI in the post-October 30, 2011 situation after suffering defeats as Q-League candidates in 2008 and majority of others who joined Imran Khan’s bandwagon just a few months before 2018 elections.
Hussain Jahania Gardezi, in the current cabinet, is the most experienced member who served in four cabinets led by Chief Ministers Mian Manzoor Wattoo, Arif Nakai, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and now Usman Buzdar. Other member who has served as minister for three terms is Raja Basharat who served as minister in the cabinets of Shahbaz Sharif (1997-99), Pervaiz Elahi (2002-2007) and now that of Usman Buzdar.
Ashifa Riaz Fatyana and Saeed-ul-Hassan Rizvi are going to take oath as provincial ministers for the second time in their career. Saeed-ul-Hassan Rizvi and Ashifa Riaz were part of Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi’s cabinet between 2002 and 2007.
Saeed-ul-Hassan Rizvi hails from Narowal and served as minister for religious affairs in the PML-Q era. Ashifa Riaz, who hails from Toba Tek Singh, is the wife of senior parliamentarian and former Punjab Education Minister Riaz Fatyana. Her son Ehsan Riaz also served as MPA between 2013 and 2018 and got elected as independent candidate. Ashifa is the daughter of a noted politician of Bhutto era and a former minister Mian Afzal Wattoo.
Muhammad Akhlaque and Shaukat Laleka served as PML-N MPAs from 2013 to 2018. Shaukat Laleka hails from the famous Laleka Joyia family of Bahawalnagar and his cousin late Mian Abdul Sattar Laleka served as MNA and federal minister for different terms. He currently represents the rival group of PML-N MNA Alamdad Laleka, who is son of late Mian Abdul Sattar Laleka.
Muhammad Akhlaque got elected MPA for the first term in 2013 from Sialkot on the PML-N ticket and afterwards he was refused the ticket by Nawaz League, he joined PTI and won as its candidate.