Pakistan PM Sharif to take some time to appoint his Cabinet: Report

Knowing the fragile nature of the ruling alliance, Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sherif is expected to take some time to appoint a new Cabinet.
Newly elected Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif addresses a National Assembly session, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Monday, April 11, 2022(Photo | AP)
Newly elected Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif addresses a National Assembly session, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Monday, April 11, 2022(Photo | AP)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's new Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif may take some time to appoint a new Cabinet as he knows the fragile nature of the ruling alliance and wants to take along all his allies, according to a media report on Wednesday.

Sources in the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) told Dawn newspaper that the leadership of both parties had decided to accommodate all allied parties in the federal Cabinet and give them the ministries of their choice.

They said the ruling coalition comprised eight political parties and four independents, and since Sharif had become the prime minister with a mere two-vote margin, he did not want to start his stint in the office with any misunderstandings among the allies.

Pakistan's Parliament on Monday elected unopposed Sharif as the 23rd prime minister of the country after the ouster of Imran Khan through a no-trust vote. In the House of 342, Sharif was elected Prime Minister after securing 174 votes.

Sharif, 70, wants to take along all his allies, particularly those who joined the former Opposition after quitting the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) coalition government, the newspaper reported. The PPP, the second-largest party in the ruling coalition, appears to be reluctant to join the federal cabinet due to division in its ranks, The Express Tribune reported.

Most of its leaders are seeking support for electoral reforms without taking ministries while others are of the view that the coalition government won't last for even two months if they opt to keep to the sidelines, it said. However, Sharif is insisting the party join him, the Dawn newspaper reported.

Sharif on Tuesday held separate meetings with PPP leaders and former president Asif Ali Zardari and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto, PDM President Maulana Fazlur Rehman, MQM-P leaders, BNP-Mengal chief Akhtar Mengal, parliamentary leader of the BAP Khalid Magsi, Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) chief Shahzain Bugti and independent member Aslam Bhootani for this purpose, The News reported. Sharif said he hoped the PPP would join the Cabinet.

"We know the fragile nature of our alliance and we want to see the present government succeeding. We don't want to give an impression that we have come to power only to get some portfolios or to enjoy perks and privileges," Dawn newspaper quoted a PPP leader as saying. "We want business," the PPP leader said.

The PPP leader, who is privy to the consultations on cabinet formation, said Sharif was insisting they join the federal Cabinet, as he was of the view that if the PPP remained out of it, it would send a wrong message to the public.

Talking to a private TV channel, PML-N lawmaker from Faisalabad Rana Sanaullah, who accompanied Sharif during his meetings with the heads of all the allied parties, said the new cabinet would be formed in the next couple of days with a consensus.

Sanaullah claimed that during the meetings with Sharif, the allies had not made any demands, rather they had asked the premier to tell them how they could facilitate him.

The PML-N leader said when they were planning to table the no-confidence resolution against Imran Khan, the first task before the joint opposition was to rid the nation of the 'incompetent' PTI government and, therefore, they had not discussed any formula for the distribution of ministries after forming a government.

However, he said, it was decided at that time that they would make all the decisions with a consensus. The PPP is divided over the issue of joining the federal Cabinet under Prime Minister Sharif. A senior PPP leader said they were more interested in getting constitutional offices instead of cabinet portfolios.

He said two constitutional offices had already fallen vacant after the resignations of the National Assembly speaker and deputy speaker, while they were also planning to remove Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani.

The PPP was interested in the speaker's office, the Senate chairman and even the Presidency, as they were expecting a resignation from Arif Alvi. Meanwhile, the MQM-Pakistan (MQMP) has decided not to join the Cabinet and extend support to the broad-based Shehbaz government from outside.

The decision has been conveyed to the prime minister, The News reported. Sharif, who is visiting Karachi on Wednesday, is expected to visit MQM-P's Bahadurabad headquarters.

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