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Imran Khan takes oath as PM

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August 19, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Imran Khan assumed the office after taking oath as Pakistan’s 22nd prime minister on Saturday.

Imran Khan, who beat Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shahbaz Sharif in the PM’s election on Friday, was administered the oath of office by President Mamnoon Hussain. The oath-taking ceremony commenced at 10:10am with the national anthem, after Imran Khan arrived at the President House clad in a black sherwani. The national anthem was followed by a recitation from the Holy Quran, after which President Mamnoon administered the oath.

The Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Chief of Air Staff Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan were among the dignitaries who attended the ceremony.

Imran’s wife Bushra Bibi, former Indian cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, Wasim Akram, actor Javed Sheikh, Punjab governor-designate Chaudhry Sarwar, Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi, Rameez Raja, caretaker Prime Minister Nasirul Mulk and PTI leaders were also in attendance. After the oath-taking ceremony, Imran was presented a guard of honour at the Prime Minister's House.

The cabinet secretary also issued a notification of Imran taking charge as prime minister.

Later the new prime minister approved a 21-member federal cabinet, which would be sworn-in tomorrow (Monday) at the Presidency. According to an announcement made by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), the PTI Senior Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi will be the foreign minister, while the former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister Pervaiz Khattak will be the defence minister. Khattak told The News that the portfolio of interior ministry would be given to him after three months. Until then, it has been retained by the prime minister. Fawad Ahmad Chaudhry has been made information and broadcasting minister.

Allies of the federal government have also been made part of the cabinet. Two important ministries have gone to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) whose Convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui was assigned the portfolio of information technology and telecommunications, while another MQM-P stalwart Barrister Farough Nasim will be the minister for law and justice.

The Grand Democratic Alliance’s (GDA) nominee and former speaker of National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza will be the minister for inter provincial coordination. Zubaida Jalal, central leader of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), has been given the portfolio of defence production. Chaudhry Tariq Bashir Cheema of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) will be the minister for states and frontier regions (Safron). Sheikh Rashid Ahmad of the Awami Muslim League (AML), who was eying interior ministry, was instead allocated the railways ministry. The PTI's economic wizard Asad Umar will be the minister for finance, revenue and economic affairs.

He is tasked with executing a major chunk of the first 100-day plan of the PTI government. Dr Shireen Mazari, who was first tipped to be defence minister and later as national security advisor, has been made the minister for human rights. Maulana Noorul Haq Qadri will be the minister for religious affairs and interfaith harmony.

Ghulam Sarwar Khan, who was federal minister with Musharraf’s government and inflicted defeat upon the estranged leader of the PML-N Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, has been given the portfolio of petroleum division. Khusro Bakhtiar has been given the assignment of minister for water resources. Shafqat Mahmood has been given the twin portfolios of federal education and professional training, and national history and literary heritage. Amir Mahmood Kiani will be federal minister for national health services, regulation and coordination.

The advisers to the prime minister will be: Shehzad Arbab (establishment), Abdul Razzaq Dawood (commerce, textile industry, production and investment), Dr Ishrat Hussain (institutional reforms and austerity), Amin Aslam (climate change) and Zaheeruddin Babar Awan (parliamentary affairs).

Anwar Mansoor Khan has been appointed the Attorney General of Pakistan. No hint was dropped about appointing the ministers of state. It is likely that the ministers of state will be taken onboard soon. In all probability, the new federal ministers and ministers of state will become part of the new administration before the commencement of the next session of the National Assembly.

Meanwhile, the PPP leader Syed Murad Ali Shah secured a second consecutive term as Sindh chief minister when he took oath of his office on Saturday at the Governor's House. Agha Siraj Durrani, the acting Sindh governor, administered the oath to the 33rd chief minister of Sindh and other cabinet members. Shah defeated the joint opposition's nominee Shaharyar Mahar to claim the slot, winning by 97 votes to 61 votes in the election held at the Sindh Assembly on Thursday.

The ceremony was attended by the PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari, Faryal Talpur, Corps Commander Karachi, Director General of Sindh Rangers, MPAs, diplomats, representatives of the business community and others.

In another development, the BAP President Jam Kamal Khan was elected Balochistan chief minister. The BAP president defeated Mir Yunas Aziz Zehri, the joint candidate of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal and Balochistan National Party-Mengal by 39 votes to 20 votes. The newly-elected Balochistan Assembly Speaker Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo chaired the session to elect the new chief minister. He will take oath of his office at Governor House in Quetta at 5pm today ( Sunday).

Jam Kamal is the third person from his family to be elected Balochistan's chief minister. Kamal’s grandfather Jam Mir Ghulam Qadir Khan was first elected as the chief minister of the province in 1972 from the PPP platform. He was named the head of the province again in 1985, when he fought the electoral race as an independent. Later his son and Jam Kamal’s father, Jam Mir Muhammad Yousuf, served as chief minister from 2002 to 2007. He died of a heart attack in 2013.

In a related development, the election of chief minister of Punjab will be held today at a session scheduled to begin at 11am. The PTI nominee Sardar Usman Buzdar and PML-N candidate Hamza Shahbaz submitted their nomination papers on Saturday.

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