Hamza gives final touches to cabinet formation

Cabinet likely to take oath in couple of days; PPP expected to get four ministries

Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz Monday gave final touches to his cabinet formation following the approval of Baligh-ur-Rehman’s appointment as the Punjab governor by President Dr Arif Alvi earlier in the day ending a weeks-long deadlock between the Prime Minister’s Office and the Presidency.

The cabinet will take oath in a couple of days, Daily Minute Mirror learnt reliably.

The president had twice rejected the summary of the prime minister for appointing a Punjab governor.

However, the deadlock ended on Monday when Rehman took oath as governor, a development aimed at ending the political crisis in Punjab that was being run without any cabinet since Hamza assumes office.

Sources within the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) told this scribe that Rehman’s oath-taking ceremony was arranged hours after his formal appointment to enable him to administer the oath to provincial ministers soon.

They added that Hamza had finalized the names of his cabinet members after consultations with the PML-N leadership and allies parties.

According to sources, the cabinet will take oath in two phases. In the first phase, senior PML-N and PPP MPAs will be sworn in.

From PML-N, Sardar Awais Laghari, Mansha ullah Butt, Malik Nadeem Kamran, Khawaja Imran Nazir, Khawaja Salman Rafique, Mian Mujtaba Shuja ur Rehman, Zeeshan Rafique, Samiullah Khan, Zakia Shah Nawaz, Khalil Tahir Sandhu, Rana Mashhood, Saif ul Malook Khokhar, Malik Ahmad Khan, Rana Iqbal, Ch Shafique and Ch Iqbal Gujjar will be made ministers. Two independent MPAs Jugnu Mohsin and Ahmad Ali Aulakh will also be part of Hamza’s cabinet.

From PPP, Syed Hassan Murtaza, Ali Haider Gillani, Makhdoom Usman Mehmood, Shazia Abid and Mumtaz Chang are being considered.

The PPP is likely to be given four ministries while its remaining three MPAs will be made parliamentary secretaries and chairmen of standing committees.

MPAs Samiullah Khan, Jugnu Mohsin, Zeeshan Rafique and PPP lawmakers will be new entrants to the cabinet.

MinuteMirror has also learnt reliably that portfolios had also been decided and PPP leader Hassan Murtaza will be made a senior minister. Malik Ahmad Khan is likely to get the portfolio of law and parliamentary affairs.

Similarly, Kh Imran Nazir and Kh Salman Rafique will look after the affairs of the health department as both have also served as health ministers during the previous government of the PML-N. Sardar Awais Laghari is likely to get the portfolio of local government while Mian Mujtaba Shuja will be given the portfolio of finance. Bilal Yasin will be made food minister while Ch Shafique is likely to get the portfolio of industries.

Former Speaker Rana Iqbal will be given the portfolio of irrigation and Khalil Tahir Sandhu is likely to get the ministry of minorities and human rights.

Also, there are slim chances for MPA Azma Bukhari, who is close to PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz, to get a portfolio in the cabinet as his husband Samiullah Khan’s name has already been finalized and it is difficult to accommodate both of them due to fear of backlash from within the party.

All the above-mentioned lawmakers are already attending meetings chaired by Hamza on a regular basis.