The cabinet of newly-elected Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Hamza Shehbaz will be announced soon as the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and its allies have completed their homework, sources told Minute Mirror on Monday.
According to insiders, the provincial cabinet will be completed in two phases and the first phase will be announced this week.
The government is waiting for the ouster of Punjab Governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema from the office as he had earlier refused to administer the oath to Hamza Shehbaz.
Hamza, who got elected as CM by getting 197 votes from the Punjab Assembly, had to wait for two weeks for his oath due to hindrances allegedly created by Cheema and Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Parvez Elahi.
Both of them had refused to accept Hamza Shehbaz as CM citing the reason that his election was illegal and unconstitutional.
The PML-N had to fight a legal battle in the Lahore High Court (LHC) for the administration of the oath to Hamza, who was later sworn in by National Assembly Speaker Raja Parvez Ashraf on the directives of the LHC.
“We don’t want to take the matter to the court once again and are waiting for the ouster of Cheema, who has been left with one day in office. Once Cheema is removed from his office and our governor is appointed, then the cabinet will be announced,” a PML-N leader said.
Cheema was appointed as Punjab governor on April 3 by the PTI government while replacing Chaudhry Sarwar.
On April 16, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif moved a summary to President Dr. Arif Alvi for the removal of Cheema that he rejected. He again sent a summary for his removal after a gap of 14 days. According to the constitution, a summary automatically becomes a notification when it is forwarded again.
The PML-N has nominated its loyalist Baleegh-ur-Rehman for the coveted office. According to rules, Tuesday (today) will be the last day of Cheema as the Punjab governor.
Both the PML-N and PPP have finalized the names of their cabinet members which will be announced soon.
The PPP has withdrawn its earlier demand for the governorship and the speakership in Punjab and now it will be accommodated in the cabinet of Hamza.
It has forwarded the names of Parliamentary Leader Syed Hassan Murtaza, Ali Haider Gillani, Makhdoom Usman Mehmood and Shazia Abid to be inducted into the cabinet.
Moreover, PPP’s MPAs Raees Nabeel, Mumtaz Chang and Ghazanfar Langah will be made parliamentary secretaries and chairmen of standing committees. So, the entire parliamentary party of the PPP will be accommodated in Punjab with just seven seats.
As per the power-sharing formula between the PML-N and the PPP, Hassan Murtaza will be made a senior minister.
After the withdrawal of PPP’s demand for the speakership, the PML-N is mulling over options to give the coveted office to Rana Mashhood or Malik Nadeem Kamran.
Malik Ahmad Khan is likely to be made minister for law and parliamentary affairs – the second most powerful office in Punjab after the chief minister.
Saeed Akbar Niwani, Nauman Langrial, and Ajmal Cheema of the Jahangir Khan Tareen Group are also likely to get ministries in Punjab.
Similarly, Aleem Khan and Asad Khokhar will also get portfolios in Hamza’s cabinet.
Khawaja Imran Nazir, Khawaja Salman Rafique, Samiullah Khan, Mansha Ullah Butt, Ahamd Ali Aulakh, Jugnu Mohsin, Muawia Azam, Zakiya Shah Nawaz, Mian Mujtaba Shuja and Chaudhry Shafique will also get ministries in the first phase.