Soomro takes oath as caretaker PM of Pakistan

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Islamabad, Nov 16 (UNI) Mohammed Mian Soomro was today sworn in as caretaker Pakistani Prime Minister to lead the country for an interim period of two months to oversee the conduct of Parliamentary elections in January 2008.

President General Pervez Musharraf, who had picked up Mr Soomro last night for the slot, administered the oath of office to the caretaker Prime Minister. A cabinet of ministers mostly comprising technocrats was also sworn in.

President Musharraf had already announced that elections would be held before January 9 under state of emergency that he had imposed on November 3.

The 24-member cabinet consisted of several prominent faces including former foreign secretary Inamul Haq, rights activist Ansar Burney, Barrister Shahida Jamil, Dr Salman Shah, Tridev Rai, Nisar Memon, Lala Nisar Muhammad Khan, Sarfaraz Abbas, Saleem Abbas Jilani, renowned lawyer Afzal Haider and Hamid Nawaz Khan.

''Today we are creating a history because never has Pakistan seen such a smooth transition of government,'' the President said in an unusual address after the oath taking ceremony.

He added that the National assembly after serving for five year has been dissolved leading to a smooth transition.

''People come, serve the country and go,'' he said, adding that it was the way democracy functioned.

''I take pride in the fact that being a man in uniform I introduced essence of democracy,'' said Gen Musharraf, who has announced to shed his uniform before taking oath for the second term in presidency.

He urged the care taker government to ensure continuity of policies. ''We need to travel more as we have made almost empty glass to half full.'' The ceremony was attended by former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, members of his cabinet, Speaker National Assembly Chaudhry Amir Hussain, governors and provincial chief ministers, services chiefs, senators, federal secretaries, political leaders, diplomats and high civil and military officials.

UNI

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