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January 4, 2019

Punjab cabinet expansion likely


January 4, 2019

LAHORE: Punjab cabinet is likely to be expanded within next few weeks in which at least one MPA of PML-Q and a few experienced MPAs from PTI will take oath as provincial ministers, The News has learnt.

Sources stated that the expanded cabinet of Punjab will comprise of the experienced politicians from Punjab, including former State Minister Syed Sumsam Bokhari, who served as PPP MNA in 2008 and later as State Minister for Information, Bilal Warraich, the MPA from Toba Tek Singh who got elected as the independent candidate in October by-polls and Bau Mohammed Rizwan, the PML-Q MPA from Sialkot, who got elected for third term in July 25 elections.

The most noted figure who is likely to find place in the cabinet of Chief Minister Usman Buzdar is former State Minister for Information Syed Sumsam Bokhari.

Sumsam Bokhari lost the 2002 general election as an independent candidate from a National Assembly seat of Okara in the hands of Syed Gulzar Sibtain Shah with a very narrow margin. In 2008 general elections, he won from the same seat with a huge margin on PPP ticket and served as State Minister for Information but lost the 2013 poll. He joined PTI in 2016 and was made Secretary Information of Punjab.

Sumsam Bokhari, after losing the 2018 general election from Okara, was fielded by PTI Chairman Imran Khan from Sahiwal from where he won the by-poll and got elected MPA. Moreover, Sumsam Bokhari, owing to his spiritual standing in Punjab also have good relationship with the family of Bushra Bibi, the first lady of Pakistan and is also held in great esteem in the party circles. Besides, being a highly educated figure which brings with him vast political experience, his name stands at the top in the would-be provincial ministers of Punjab. However, when contacted and asked about any role being awarded to him in Punjab, he responded with ‘not to my knowledge.’

Besides, Bilal Warraich, the independent MPA from Gojra, Toba Tek Singh, is also a likely minister in Punjab, sources stated. Bilal won in 2002 and 2008 polls and later won the 2018 by-election. He is scion of the renowned Warraich family of Gojra and his brother is also the MNA but from PML-N.

Farkhanda Warraich, his another relative, has also served as MNA in past.

Besides, PML-Q, the major ally of PTI in Punjab, having 10 MPAs and a party without whose support Buzdar government could even fall under the current number game is likely to get one more ministry in form of Bau Rizwan. Currently, Ammar Yasir, the PML-Q MPA from Chakwal is the sitting minister in Buzdar cabinet who is holding the portfolio of mines and minerals. Bau Rizwan is the most experienced MPA amongst the current lot of MPAs after Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi. Rizwan first got elected as independent candidate from Sialkot in 2002 general elections after which he joined PML-Q. In 2008, he was amongst the few loyalists of Chaudhrys who sided with them after winning the polls instead of joining the forward bloc. He lost the 2013 poll and returned to the PA for third term on PML-Q ticket. The matter related to the grievances of PML-Q MPA and cabinet expansion also came under discussion during the meeting of PML-Q top brass with Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Besides, the name of Special Assistant on Food Khurrem Leghari is also doing round for full-fledged minister. Khurrem hails from Muzaffargarh and son of former MPA Chunnu Leghari. His grandfather also served as MPA. Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Basharat Raja when contacted stated that he wasn’t aware of any such development regarding cabinet expansion. However, he stated that the government, so far hasn’t taken any decision regarding the Chairman of Public Accounts Committee and all the reports regarding any appointment to this slot were not true. He stated that matter would be discussed in meeting of Business Advisory Committee on January 7.

LGH workshop: Punjab Institute of Neuro Sciences organised a session where doctor from Bred Ford United Kingdom Prof Dr Mohammad Iqbal Khan especially participated.

Dr Iqbal asked the young doctors to adopt ways and means to save the patients from the complications of paralysis. He said there are big achievements and advancements have taken place internationally and our doctors should also follow those procedures.

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