Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has unveiled his 21-member Cabinet, most of whom previously held key posts in the regime of former dictator General (retd) Pervez Musharraf. Out of the 21 names announced, 16 will be ministers while five others will advisers to Khan, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) spokesman Fawad Chaudhry said yesterday, hours after the cricketer-turned-politician was sworn-in as the country's 22nd Prime Minister. According to the list shared by Chaudhry on his Twitter account, veteran politician Shah Mahmood Qureshi will be the foreign minister.
Qureshi, the vice president of the party, was the foreign minister from 2008 to 2011 under the Pakistan Peoples Party government when the 2008 Mumbai terror attack took place. He was in New Delhi when 10 Pakistan-based LeT terrorists attacked India's financial capital. Pervaiz Khattak has been appointed the defence minister while Asad Umer will be the finance minister. Khattak served as the chief minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province from 2013-18. Asad Umer is the son of former Lt Gen Mohammad Umer who was part of the Pakistan Army during 1971 war with India.
The newly-announced Cabinet is expected to take oath tomorrow at the President's House. At least 12 members of Khan's Cabinet served under General (retd) Musharraf, The News reported. The new Cabinet includes a former spokesperson of Musharraf, his attorney and several members of his cabinet and core team, the paper said. The Cabinet members who served under Musharraf in various capacities include Farogh Naseem, Tariq Bashir Cheema, Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Zubaida Jalal, Fawad Chauhdry, Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Shafqat Mehmood, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Abdul Razak Dawood, Dr Ishrat Hussain and Amin Aslam, the paper said.
Five of the new Cabinet members, including Khattak and Qureshi, had served as ministers in past Pakistan Peoples Party governments, it added. Sheikh Rashid from Rawalpindi has been appointed as the railway minister. He previously held the same portfolio under the Musharraf regime. Three women including Shireen Mazari, Zubaida Jalal and Fehmida Mriza are also part of Khan's Cabinet. The five advisors who have status of ministers include known faces like former banker Ishrat Hussain, businessman Abdul Razzak Dawood and Babar Awan.
According to Pakistan's Constitution, the size of the federal cabinet should be not more than 11 per cent of the total strength of the National Assembly and Senate. Khan, the chairman of PTI, was administered the oath of office by President Mamnoon Hussain at a simple ceremony held at the Aiwan-e-Sadr (the President House) in Islamabad yesterday. His government is the third consecutive democratic government in Pakistan since 2008 when Gen Musharraf announced elections after serving as president from 2001 to 2008 following a bloodless coup in 1999.
The PPP formed the government in 2008, followed by the PML-N led by jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in 2013. Pakistan's powerful military has ruled the country through various coups for nearly half of the country's history since independence in 1947.