Dar, Asif, Iqbal likely to be picked for key federal ministries

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Dar, Asif, Iqbal likely to be picked for key federal ministries

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has concluded consultations with close aides for the formation of the federal cabinet and deciding on key ministries, sources told Geo News on Wednesday.

After PM’s consultations, key ministries of defence, foreign affairs, and finance are likely to be handed over to two PML-N bigwigs — Khawaja Asif and Ishaq Dar — and a renowned banker Muhammad Aurangzeb, respectively, the sources said.

Subsequently, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal would be given the ministries of planning, and development, as well as privatisation.

It is noteworthy to mention here that Iqbal had served as the planning and development minister in the previous tenure of the PML-N and the PDM.

As far as other top ministries were concerned, the sources said that Attaullah Tarar is expected to be given the information and broadcasting ministry, whereas, another PML-N stalwart Rana Sanaullah — former interior minister — would be made special assistant to prime minister (SAPM) on interior affairs.

Former caretaker finance minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar could be appointed as the special assistant on finance, the sources further revealed, adding that the ministries of water resources, and petroleum-cum-energy would be handed over to PML-N’s Amir Muqam, and Musadik Malik, respectively.

Moreover, one of the ruling party’s coalition partners in the Centre, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) senior deputy convener Mustafa Kamal is likely to be appointed as the minister for science and technology, Senator Faisal Sabzwari as minister for ports and shipping, and Dr Farooq Sattar as the minister for overseas Pakistanis.

The prime minister is expected to unveil the names of its federal cabinet in the coming days.

No names have emerged from the strongest ally of the ruling party — Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) — which announced not to be part of the federal cabinet, or holding key ministries at the time of forming a coalition with PML-N post-election 2024.

The Bilawal-led party has fielded co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari as a candidate for the president’s slot whose election is going to be held on March 9, besides, hinting at bringing its Senate chairman, with the backing of the Nawaz-led party, and other allies of the ruling coalition.

The PPP has also managed to form its provincial governments in Sindh — a stronghold of the Bilawal-led party which it ruled for multiple tenures — and Balochistan, where, the party managed to elect its chief minister — Sarfraz Bugti.