Ministers get more portfolios; cabinet expansion put off
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani allotted additional portfolios to seven ministers on Saturday, indicating he will take some more time to expand his recently reconstituted 22-strong cabinet.
No one has still been given the charge of the foreign affairs ministry, though Hina Rabbani Khar looks after it as minister of state since former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was dropped from the new team of 21 federal ministers and one minister of state inducted on Feb 12.
The government had then said it was the first batch of the new cabinet, promising that more ministers would be named later to replace what was generally considered an unduly large team of ministers and advisers amid an increasing pressure from critics for a cut in government expenses.
According to an official announcement, Inter-Provincial Coordination Minister Raza Rabbani got the addition charge of human rights, Privatisation Minister Naveed Qamar that of water and power, and Religious Affairs Minister Khurshid Ahmed Shah of his previously held labour and manpower.
Textile Minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin has been given the additional portfolio of housing and works, Kashmir Affairs Minister Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo of defence production, Environment Minister Samina Khalid Ghurki of women development and States and Frontier Regions Minister Engineer Shaukatullah of sports.
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar gets the additional charge, in the same capacity, for finance and economic affairs, to be number two to Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh.
No additional charge has been given to four existing ministers from allied parties.
With Saturday’s allocations, Prime Minister Gilani is left with four ministries – information technology and telecommunications, petroleum and natural resources, overseas Pakistanis, and ports and shipping.