Pakistan’s new cabinet to be sworn in Friday

Thursday, February 10, 2011

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan’s new cabinet, which will be smaller in size, is likely to be sworn in Friday.

“The new cabinet will comprise of 40 members in total. However, 15 members will take oath in the first phase Friday,” said presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar in a media release.

Members of Pakistan’s federal cabinet Wednesday tendered their resignations to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani following a decision by the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party to trim the size of the cabinet to control expenses and also bring about necessary changes in light of the performance of each member.

Prime Minister Gilani had chaired the last session of the cabinet Monday and “praised the efforts of the outgoing ministers at a tough juncture in dealing with challenges like financial position, terrorism and floods”.

The nucleus of the new cabinet is likely to remain the same as the previous cabinet and some key ministers like Shah Mahmood Qureshi (foreign) and Rehman Malik (interior) are likely to retain their slots, Geo TV reported.

However, some portfolios are likely to be reshuffled to revitalise their performance and non-performing members of the previous cabinet are likely to miss out this time round.

Gilani has made an attempt to woo the estranged allies like Jamiat Ulema Islam and Muttahida Qaumi Movement back to the cabinet, but they have declined the offer, citing principle disagreements over vital issues that still remain unresolved and forced them to part ways in the first place, the channel said.

The new cabinet will be almost half in number as compared to the last cabinet, which comprised more than 80 members including federal and state ministers as well as advisers and special assistants enjoying ministerial status.

The government faced criticism that the cabinet is too bloated for a country facing financial crunch. The main opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) sought a smaller cabinet as part of a 10-point economic agenda accepted by the ruling party in January.

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