President Alvi administers oath to 4 new members of PM Shehbaz’s cabinet

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ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi administered oath to three federal ministers and one minister of state for Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s cabinet at the Aiwan-i-Sadr on Friday, the first time the president led the ceremony involving members of the new government.

The president had previously “complained of discomfort” just a day before then prime minister-elect Shehbaz was to be sworn in as head of government. Shehbaz was then administered the oath of office by Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani.

On Tuesday, 33 lawmakers were inducted in the new premier’s cabinet after they were sworn in by Sanjrani in the absence of the president, who had refused to administer the oath to the lawmakers, a report said, adding that a Cabinet Division notification issued at the time carried the names of 26 federal ministers and two ministers of state.

In Friday’s oath-taking ceremony, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid’s (PML-Q) Chaudhry Salik Hussain — son of Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain — Balochistan National Party-Mengal’s (BNP-M) Agha Hassan Baloch and PML-N’s Javed Latif took were sworn in as federal ministers, state-run APP reported.

After the three were sworn in a federal ministers, BNP-M’s Hashim Notezai was administered the oath of office and inducted into the cabinet as a minister of state.

No details of their portfolios were immediately available.

PM Shehbaz was also present at the oath-taking ceremony, and was seated next to President Alvi.

The oath-taking had taken place just days after the president and the prime minister held their first meeting since Shehbaz became premier. The President’s Secretariat had said the leaders discussed issues related to the evolving political and economic situation in the country.

PM Shehbaz’s cabinet continued to expand amid reports of differences among allies in the new coalition government and even within the PML-N over the selection of members and distribution of portfolios among them.

A source in the PML-N had told that there was a divide within the party over the selection of cabinet members and distribution of portfolios among them. He had said PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz was “unhappy” with the PM for not considering names of veteran party leaders, who had a close and long association with the party’s supreme leader Nawaz.

According to the report, Latif had not taken oath on Tuesday citing that he was busy in a party rally in Okara, while a PML-N insider had told that the PML-N leader had done so because Shehbaz would not have been comfortable with his presence at the ceremony.

Meanwhile, there were also reports of the BNP-M of not joining the cabinet, as the party had accused the government of not preventing violent incidents in the province, such as the recent firing on protesters in Chagai.