Pak PM retains most members of Gilani's cabinet in his govt

Raja Pervez Ashraf
Islamabad, Jun 23: Pakistan's new Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf retained most key members of former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani's cabinet in the same positions as he allocated portfolios among his council of ministers.

Hina Rabbani Khar retained the Foreign Ministry while Qamar Zaman Kaira returned to the Information Ministry while Naveed Qamar was again assigned the Defence Ministry.

Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, whose PML-Q party is a key ally in the Pakistan People's Party-led coalition, was again inducted as a Senior Minister and given the defence production and industry portfolios.

Farzana Raja, a loyalist of PPP chief and President Asif Ali Zardari, was among the new faces inducted into the cabinet. She was given charge of the Benazir Income Support Programme, a remarkable scheme to help the poor.

The other members of the cabinet include Makhdoom Amin Fahim (commerce), Arbab Alamgir Khan (communication), Nazar Muhammad Gondal (capital administration and development), Rana Muhammad Farooq Saeed Khan (climate change), Abdul Hafeez Shaikh (finance), Mir Hazar Khan Bajrani (inter-provincial coordination), Manzoor Wattoo (Kashmir affairs) and Farooq Naek (law and justice).

Ashraf was elected the new premier during a special session of the National Assembly yesterday. He and the council of ministers were subsequently sworn-in by President Asif Ali Zardari.

The PPP nominated Ashraf, 61, as its prime ministerial candidate after former premier Gilani was disqualified by the Supreme Court on Tuesday due to his conviction of contempt.

Gilani was convicted and given a symbolic sentence of less than a minute by the apex court in April after he refused to reopen graft cases in Switzerland against Zardari.


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