Updated February 28th, 2024 at 14:23 IST

Talks to Form Cabinet in Pakistan's Punjab Province Under Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz Begins

Consultations for the formation of a Cabinet in Pakistan's Punjab province under Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz have started within the ruling PML-N with her father and party supremo Nawaz Sharif holding talks with allied parties.

Pakistan Punjab Province's Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz. | Image:AP
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Consultations for the formation of a Cabinet in Pakistan's Punjab province under Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz have started within the ruling PML-N with her father and party supremo Nawaz Sharif holding talks with allied parties. In the first phase, a 20-member Cabinet is lik­ely to be formed this week, according to a media report on Wednesday.

The PML-N leadership also held talks with its all­ied parties — PPP, PML-Q and Istehkam-i-Pakistan Party (IPP), which are also expected to get ministries in the cabinet in the second phase. Maryam, 50, is the first woman chief minister of a province in Pakistan's history. The meeting was chaired by three-time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who surprisingly nominated his younger brother to be the prime minister when a coalition federal government was formed.

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Senior PML-N leaders Rana Sanaullah, Pervaiz Rashid and Marriyum Aurangzeb are expected to be accommodated in the provincial cabinet. Sanaullah and Rashid are expected to be inducted as special assist­ants or advisers to the chief minister, as they are not members of the Punjab Assembly. Sanaullah, considered close to PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, is expected to get the coveted portfolios of home and law. He served as the provincial law minister in the last tenure of former chief minister Shehbaz Sharif from 2013 to 2018.

Later, he also served as the interior minister in the 16-month stint of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government in the Centre following the ouster of former premier Imran Khan through a no-confidence motion in 2022. Sanaullah contested and lost the National Assembly election against a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed independent candidate from his hometown, Faisalabad.

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There is still no clarity over what portfolio will be given to Rashid, another confidant of the Sharif brothers and a former senator. Rashid has been attending every administrative meeting that Sharif has chaired since taking the oath on Monday. There are also reports that Rashid may be sent back to the Senate, but a final decision will be made by Nawaz Sharif.

A top party source told the Dawn newspaper that outspoken party leader, Azma Bokhari, is being given the portfolio of information ministry while Aurangzeb, who has been brought to Punjab from the centre to assist the chief minister, would also get an important ministry. Both were inducted into the assembly on reserved seats for women. PPP, PML-Q and IPP lawmakers, to be inducted into the cabinet at a later stage, may not get any important ministries, the report said. Meanwhile, Maryam met the provincial bureaucracy at the Civil Secretariat in Lahore on Tuesday. 

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Published February 28th, 2024 at 14:23 IST