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Remaining members of Punjab cabinet likely to take oath today

PML-N’s Mian Mujtaba likely to present province’s financial bill

In the second phase of Punjab cabinet inductions, members are likely to take oath today, a day before the provincial budget gets tabled, it has been learnt.

According to sources, there were some differences among the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) over the portfolios and therefore a delay was seen in the extension of the provincial cabinet. Around two dozen ministers are likely to take oath before the budget that will be presented in Punjab Assembly on Monday.

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Earlier, the PPP was insisting on getting the portfolio of finance for its MPA from South Punjab, Makhdoom Usman. The PML-N was reluctant to give the portfolio, as the major ruling party wanted to keep the Finance Ministry to itself and had been insisting on the name of Mian Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman. He has also served as finance minister during the PML-N government in the past. Now, sources said that the PPP has withdrawn its demand of getting the finance portfolio and Mian Mujtaba is highly likely to present the provincial budget in Punjab Assembly on Monday.

The other demands of the PPP, including getting some more ministries and getting the slot of senior minister in Punjab, will now be accepted. Syed Hassan Murtaza will be the senior minister and the PPP will get five more ministries in the cabinet of Hamza Shehbaz.

The new inductees in the cabinet include Col (r) Ayub Gaddhi, Mian Yawar Zaman, Bilal Yasin, Zakiya Shahnawaz, Kh Imran Nazir, Mansha Ullah Butt, Malik Nadeem Kamran, Mian Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman, Zeeshan Rafique, Samiullah Khan, Azma Bukhari, Khalil Tahir Sandhu, Rana Mashhood, Saiful Malook Khokhar, Ch Shafique, Mehar Ijaz Achlana, Mian Yawar Zaman, and Ch Iqbal Gujjar.

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The PPP’s Makhdoom Usman Mehmood, Shazia Abid and Mumtaz Chang are likely to be made provincial ministers. Moreover, Ch Manzoor and former MPA and incumbent information secretary of PPP in Punjab, Shehzad Cheema, will be appointed as special assistants. Two independent MPAs – Jugnu Mohsin and Ahmad Ali Aulakh – will also be part of Hamza’s cabinet.

In the first phase, Sardar Awais Laghari, Khawaja Salman Rafique, Malik Ahmad Khan, Rana Iqbal and Atta Ullah Tarar from the PML-N and Syed Hassan Murtaza and Ali Haider Gilani from the PPP took oath. An independent MPA, Bilal Asghar Warraich, was also sworn in that day.

Malik Ahmad Khan is likely to get the portfolio of law and parliamentary affairs. Similarly, Khawaja Salman Rafique will look after the affairs of the health department. Sardar Awais Laghari will get the portfolio of local government. 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 be made minister for minorities and human rights. The name of Azma Bukhari is being discussed as minister for public prosecution, while Rana Mashhood is likely to get the portfolio of education.

The oath-taking ceremony is likely to be held at the Governor’s House before the budget session of Punjab Assembly.

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