Qureshi left out of new and pruned Pak cabinet

Posted By: Biswajeet Panda
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Sha Mahmood Qureshi
Islamabad, Feb 12: Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Pakistan's foreign minister since 2008 has been left out of the nation's new and slimmer cabinet. He was supposed to visit India for bilateral talks in mid 2011.

Qureshi, who was known for his confrontational attitude against India, is also supposed to be closer to the army which might have led to his exclusion from the cabinet. The decision to leave him from the cabinet also assumes significance when considered that a day earlier India and Pakistan decided to hold bilateral talks for the first time since 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Analysts believe that leaving Qureshi out was a strategic move aimed to garner support for the economic reforms. The government was under immense pressure to prune the previously 54-member cabinet to reduce strains on the national exchequer.

The volatile south-east Asian nation is having a torrid time financially as it is struggling to pay its bills and depends on IMF loan to run its economy. The floods in 2010 ravaged the already bleak economic condition of the country.

The new cabinet has 22 ministers, a significant reduction from the last one.

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