Cabinet expansion gives lie to austerity claims: Ashraf, Kaira among 11 new ministers
Syed Irfan Raza
ISLAMABAD: Despite all the preachings about austerity and promises to take measures to reduce government expenses, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani inducted into his cabinet five ministers and six ministers of state on Friday.
All the new ministers belong to the Pakistan People’s Party. With the induction of the new ministers, the size of the cabinet has increased to 53 — 35 full ministers and 18 ministers of state, besides a number of advisers.
Till late in the night, portfolios of the newly-inducted ministers were not announced.
“President Asif Ali Zardari administered oath to five federal ministers and six ministers of state,” President’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar said.
The oath-taking ceremony at the Presidency was attended by Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, federal ministers, parliamentarians and senior officials.
The new ministers are Qamar Zaman Kaira, Rana Mohammad Farooq Saeed Khan, Raja Pervez Ashraf, Nazar Mohammad Gondal and Farzana Raja.
The ministers of state are Nawabzada Malik Ahmad Khan, Raheela Baloch, Abbas Khan Afridi, Tasneem Qureshi, Malik Azmat Khan and Syed Samsam Ali Shah Bokhari.
“We have already given ministries to our coalition partners in accordance with their quotas and therefore this time only PPP leaders were given ministries,” PPP’s Information Secretary Qamar Zaman Kaira said.
In reply to a question, Mr Kaira said he had no knowledge which ministry he would be given, but added that he would accept if the information ministry was offered to him.
According to sources, some leaders of the PPP and parties in the ruling coalition had called the president and requested him to consider them while finalising the list of new ministers.
The sources said that Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan could be given a new portfolio.
But when Ms Awan was contacted she said she did not know if any changes were being made. “Nothing is known yet. I cannot say anything at this stage,” she said.