Qureshi is Pak Foreign Minister; 24 join Cabinet

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Islamabad, Mar 31: 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.

The new ministers were administered the oath of office by President Pervez Musharraf at a ceremony held at Aiwan-e-Sadr (Presidential Palace). The ceremony was also attended by the Prime Minister, Senate Chairman Muhammadmian Soomro, and civil and military officials. Eleven of the new ministers are from the assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's party, which won most of the seats in the election and nine from its main coalition ally, Mr Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League (N).

Of the other four, one is an independent member of parliament and three are from two smaller parties joining the coalition.

Mr Qureshi, 52, comes from a land-owning family from the eastern city of Multan and did his masters in law from the Cambridge University.

Mr Qureshi is president of the PPP in Punjab, Pakistan's richest province and seat of power of the political and military establishment.

He served as finance minister in Punjab's provincial government, in the early 1990s and was a junior minister for parliamentary affairs in Bhutto's government in mid-1990s.

Others who took oath as ministers included Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan (Communications with additional charge of Food, Agriculture and Livestock), Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (Commerce), Tehmina Daultana (Culture), Rana Tanveer Hussain (Defence Production), Ahsan Iqbal (Eduction, additional charge Minorities), Hameed Ullah Jan Afridi (Environment), Muhammad Ishaq Dar (Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs and Statistics), Rehmat Ullah Kakar (Housing and Works), Sherry Rehman (Information and Broadcasting), Qamar Zaman Kaira (Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas), Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah (Labour, Manpower and Overseas Pakistanis), Farooq H Naik (Law and Justice), Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour (Local Government and Rural Development), Nazar Muhammad Gondal (Narcotics Control), Khawaja Muhammad Asif (Petroleum and Natural Resources, additional charge Sports), Humayun Aziz Kurd (Population Welfare), Syed Naveed Qamar (Ports and Shipping, additional charge Privatization and Investment), Syed Mehtab Ahmed Khan (Railways), Nawabzada Khawaja Muhammad Khan Hoti (Social Welfare, Special Education), Najmuddin Khan (States and Frontier Regions), Raja Pervaiz Ashraf (Water and Power), Khawaja Saad Rafique (Youth Affairs, Science and Technology).


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