24 member Pakistan cabinet sworn in

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Islamabad, Mar 31 (UNI) Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi was today named the Foreign Minister of Pakistan and Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar the Defence Minister as Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani inducted 24 ministers into his government, two days after winning the vote of confidence in the National Assembly.

President Pervez Musharraf administered the oath of office to the new ministers, all known for their hostility towards him.

The swearing in ceremony was also attended by the Prime Minister, Senate Chairman Muhammadmian Soomro, and civil and military officials at the Presidential Palace.

Pakistan People's Party and its coalition partners-Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), Awami National Party and Jamiat-I-Ulema-I-Islam (Fazl), after a series of meetings over the past one month, yesterday finalised the names of the ministers.

The cabinet comprises 11 ministers from PPP, nine from PML(N) and two each from Awami National Party and the restive tribal regions.

The PPP ministers and their portfolios are with Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi (Foreign Affairs), Sherry Rehman (Information); Raja Pervaiz Ashraf (Water and Power), Farooq H Naik (Law and Justice), Syed Khurshid Shah (Labour and Manpower); Qamaruz Zaman Kaira (Kashmir and Northern Areas Affairs), Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar (Defence), Nazir Ahmad Gondal (Narcotics Control), Najamuddin Khan (Industries).

Portfolio of Humayun Aziz Kurd would be announced later.

The PML-N's Ch Nisar Ali Khan got the status of Senior Federal Minister with additional charge of Communications and Inter-Provincial Coordination.

The other members of PML-N and their portfolios are: Ishaq Dar (Finance); Khawaja Muhammad Asif (Petroleum); Ahsan Iqbal (Education); Rana Tanveer Hussain (Food and Agriculture); Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan Abbassi (Railways); Shahid Khaqaan Abbassi (Trade); Khawaja Saad Rafiq (Youth Affairs); and Tehmina Daultana (Women Development).

The ANP's MNAs Ghulam Ahmad Bilour and Khawaja Muhammad Khan Hoti have been allocated the portfolios of Local Bodies and Rural Development and Population respectively.

Senator Rahmat Ullah Khan Kakar of JUI-F was given the portfolio of Housing. Members from the tribal regions also got one berth in the federal cabinet with Hameed Khan Afridi becoming Federal Minister for Social Welfare.

Prime Minister said the cabinet would meet every fortnight on regular basis and ministers would be required to present the progress report of their respective ministries.

UNI XC PD KN1625

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