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Pak Prez Asif Ali Zardari administers oath to 19-member Cabinet recommended by PM Sharif

Islamabad, Mar 11 (PTI) Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday administered the oath to 19 members of the Cabinet of the newly elected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, ending the tenuous wait for the completion of government formation.

Islamabad, Mar 11 (PTI) Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday administered the oath to 19 members of the Cabinet of the newly elected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, ending the tenuous wait for the completion of government formation.

The oath-taking ceremony was held in the President's House and was attended by Prime Minister Sharif among others.

Those who took oath included Ishaq Dar, Khawaja Asif, Ahsan Iqbal, Muhammad Aurangzeb, Azam Tarar, Rana Tanvir, Mohsin Naqvi, Ahad Cheema, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Riaz Prizada, Qaiser Sheikh, Shaza Fatima, Aleem Khan, Jam Kamal, Amir Muqam, Awais Leghari, Atta Tarar, Salik Hussian and Musaddiq Malik.

The portfolio of the new minister will be announced later. Aurangzeb will likely be the finance minister, Dar as the foreign minister, and Khawaja Asif the defence minister. Azam Tarar will be the law minister, Atta Tarar as information minister, Musaddik Malik as petroleum minister, Mohsin Naqvi as interior minister and Ahad Cheema as minister for Kashmir affairs.

Three technocrats -- Muhammad Aurangzeb, Mohsin Naqvi and Ahad Cheema have been included in the cabinet as advisors. The cabinet has only one woman, Shaza Fatima.

The oath-taking came hours after Prime Minister Sharif recommended the 19 names, a day after he held a marathon meeting with the leaders of his inner circle on the matter.

The cabinet include familiar faces who were also part of the previous government.

They include ex-defence minister Khawaja Asif, former finance minister Ishaq Dar, ex-planning minister Ahsan Iqbal, former law minister Azam Nazeer Tarar and ex-state minister for petroleum Musadik Malik.

This time Dar lost the race for the Ministry of Finance and the coveted post fell to Muhammad Aurangzeb, a well-known banker.

A dark horse to rise to the cabinet is former caretaker Punjab chief minister Mohsin Naqvi, who is also currently the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman.

He is considered close to Zardari and the link may have worked in his favour.

The process of government formation has been completed after the cabinet was sworn in.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s main ally, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), has refused to become part of the federal cabinet. PTI SH RUP AKJ RUP

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