Pakistan caretaker PM Kakar’s 18-member Cabinet takes oath

Pakistan’s caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar’s 18 member cabinet took oath on Thursday. The cabinet will see Pakistan through their upcoming elections at a time the country has been hit with economic and political crisis, considering former Prime Minister Imran Khan has also been arrested. 

The caretaker government helmed by Kakar will stay in power till the general elections are conducted and will ensure a seamless transition of power. 

On Thursday, Pakistan president Arif Alvi administered an oath to the caretaker Cabinet at Aiwan-e-Sadr, the presidential house. According to an official statement, 16 federal ministers and 3 advisers are part of the Cabinet.

Former foreign secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani has been appointed as Foreign Minister, Sarfaraz Bugti as Interior Minister, Shamshad Akhtar as Finance Minister, Lt Gen (retired) Anwar Ali Haider as Defence Minister and senior journalist Murtaza Solangi as Information Minister.

Khalil George took the oath as Minister for Minorities, industrialist Gohar Ijaz as Minister for Industries, academic Dr Umar Saif as Minister for Information Technology, Ahmad Irfan Aslam as Law Minister, renowned actor Jamal Shah as Minister for Culture Aniq Ahmad as Religious Affairs Minister.

Akhtar is the only woman in the Cabinet.

The oath-taking ceremony began with the recitation of the Holy Quran at the President’s House in Islamabad.

The ceremony was attended by Kakar, Punjab interim Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi and others.

The swearing-in of Cabinet ministers completed the process of government formation in the country, which is facing its worst economic crisis.

Under the Constitution, a caretaker government should be appointed to provide a neutral administration for holding the elections in a fair and transparent manner.

Pakistan’s National Assembly was dissolved on August 9, ending the tenure of the government led by Shehbaz Sharif and paving the way for installing a caretaker setup.

The general elections in Pakistan are expected to be held within 90 days.

But the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday decided to conduct a fresh delimitation of the constituencies, making it almost certain that general elections may not be held within the stipulated period of 90 days.

Earlier this month, the Council of Common Interests (CCI) approved the results of the 2023 digital census, making it compulsory for the ECP to conduct fresh delimitation — a process that will take nearly four months.

According to a schedule issued by the ECP, the electoral watchdog will complete the delimitation exercise by mid-December.

Pakistan is currently in the throes of an economic crisis.

The Pakistan government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reached a long-awaited staff-level agreement on June 29 to inject a USD 3 billion Standby Arrangement (SBA) into the ailing economy after months-long negotiations that pushed the country to the brink of default.

(With PTI inputs)

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Updated: 17 Aug 2023, 09:43 PM IST