Race for Cabinet slots on

Race for Cabinet slots on

ISLAMABAD: Even when caretaker Prime Minister designate Mir Hazar Khan Khoso is all set to pick his Cabinet members in a day or two, the process of selection against important portfolios is a tedious one as he has to take along PPP and allies, Opposition’s PML-N as well as military establishment to get the final clearance.

As of now names of several technocrats and former bureaucrats have surfaced and being tipped to become the members of the caretaker Cabinet. Some of these names have already landed with “eyes and ears” of the military establishment for clearance purpose.The caretaker Premier designate has already hinted that his Cabinet will consist of 12-13 members. According to well-placed sources, Tariq Aziz, former Principal Secretary to the then President Pervez Musharraf, former Ambassador Dr Maleeha Lodhi and former Secretary Foreign Affairs Riaz Khokhar and Akram Zaki were among the hopefuls for the slot of Foreign Minister.

The sources claimed that former Adviser on Finance in Shaukat Aziz Cabinet, Dr Salman Shah has emerged as favourite candidate to become caretaker Finance Minister. Former Finance Minister in Yousaf Raza Gilani’s Cabinet, Shaukat Tareen is also in the run.  PPP’s nominee, Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, facing allegations of misuse of power during his recent stint as Finance Minister, is being opposed by PML-N.Dr Javed Jabbar’s name alongwith the name of a senior journalist are also in a list for the Information Minister. Similarly, a retired General is being tipped as Interior Minister.

Names of personalities like Dr Abdul Jameel Khan (Abbottabad), Dr Rubina Baloch from Gawadar, and Iftikhar Durrani from Khyber Pakhtunkhawa have also made it to the list being scrutinised at the moment by the officials deputed for the purpose.Sources revealed that the personalities, having allegations of corruption and misuse of official authority would not be able to make it to the caretaker set up.The caretaker Prime Minister may use his Constitutional authority to appoint honest and clean people as his Ministers.

The role of Finance, Interior and Water and Power Ministers in the caretaker set-up will be of key importance due to the ongoing economic and energy crisis and law and order situation in the country.The economic mess created by the outgoing government could further aggravate in case the right person was not appointed for the job, officials said.Ch Muhammad Ashraf Gujjar Advocate and former President Islamabad High Court bar Association while talking to Media said the selection and size of the cabinet would be the sole prerogative of the caretaker Prime Minister.

As per the Constitution, the President and political parties would have no role in selecting the Ministers in caretaker set up.He said under Article 148 of the Constitution, President would simply follow the advice of Prime Minister in the appointment of the caretaker Cabinet.  However, sources in the Presidency said that the caretaker Cabinet would also be appointed after consultation with outgoing ruling coalition and the Opposition parties, especially the PML-N. – Nation