Cabinet reshuffle: Farooq Naek appointed law minister
By Zia Khan
ISLAMABAD: The government appointed Pakistan Peoples Party stalwart Farooq H Naek as law minister on Wednesday, completing an overhaul of its legal team ahead of crucial hearings in the Supreme Court.
Naek, who resigned from the slot of Senate chairman last month after elections for half of upper house’s seats, was administered the oath for his new portfolio by President Asif Ali Zardari. The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and other cabinet members.
Naek has replaced another PPP leader, Maula Bux Chandio, who is likely to get the parliamentary affairs ministry. Law and parliamentary affairs was a single portfolio earlier, but was bifurcated by the current government to accommodate more aspirants in the cabinet.
Overhaul of legal team
With the appointment of Naek as law minister, the PPP government has completed the overhaul of its legal team ahead of a prospective legal standoff with the judiciary.
Last month, the government appointed a former National Accountability Bureau (NAB) official, Irfan Qadir, as the law secretary. Qadir had once questioned the 2009 restoration of the top judiciary by the present government.
Naek, a professional lawyer and a long-time associate of President Zardari, had been supervising corruption cases against the president and his slain wife Benazir Bhutto.
His appointment comes a day before a seven-member bench will resume hearing of contempt case against Premier Gilani, for his refusal to write a letter to Swiss authorities for reopening graft cases involving President Zardari.
The same bench is expected to pass judgment in a separate case regarding the implementation of its orders on the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) next week.
Sherry appointed as minister
Prime Minister Gilani conferred the status of a federal minister on Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman.
Sherry, who served as the federal minister for information and broadcasting from March 2008 to March 2009, was appointed as the envoy to US on November 23 last year.