ISLAMABAD: Former president Asif Ali Zardari and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari called on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif at the Prime Minister’s House to finalise the cabinet on Saturday night.
According to sources, Asif Ali Zardari advised Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to give cabinet posts to all coalition partners in the first phase and the PPP would join the cabinet in the second phase. It is expected that the first phase of the cabinet will take oath on Monday or Tuesday. In the first phase, 10 to 12 ministers will take the oath.
Earlier on Saturday, Asif Zardari had informed a journalist that the PPP would not join the cabinet as he wanted the coalition partners to be accommodated first. Later, senior PPP leaders started giving explanations of his remarks and said he did not mean the party would not join the cabinet.
Sources in the PPP said the party would have 11 cabinet posts while the PML-N 14. According to the formula agreed in the political committee of the government, ministries of finance, interior, planning and development, defence and energy that includes water and power and Petroleum Division will go the PMLN while ministries like foreign affairs and human rights would go to the PPP.
Sources said the PPP and MQM will decide on the Ministry of Port and Shipping and Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis while the PPP and PMLN would decide about the Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Communications. If PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari decides to join the cabinet, he would be the minister of foreign affairs while Hina Rabbani Khar is likely to be the minister of state for foreign affairs and either Shazia Marri or Senator Mustafa Nawaz Kokhar would get the Ministry of Human Rights.
From the PMLN, Ahsan Iqbal is likely to get the Ministry of Planning and Development, Marriyum Aurangzeb could be the information minister, Rana Sanaullah interior minister, Rana Tanveer Hussain minister for parliamentary affairs, Miftah Ismael, adviser to the Prime Minister on finance, while Khawaja Muhammad Asif and Khurram Dastgir would also take oath as federal ministers. Murtaza Javed Abbasi could be the deputy speaker of the National Assembly.