ISLAMABAD: With the media already speculating about the possible cabinet members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, the mood in Raiwind is quite different this time around, as Nawaz Sharif is busy with his core team to chalk out his first 100-day priority plan to tackle contentious issues like energy, economy and terrorism.
Nawaz would share his vision with the nation in his first speech as the new prime minister of Pakistan, sources in the PML-N confided in Media.”Despite media speculations regarding the new federal cabinet, Nawaz has yet not started consultation process for selection of his new team. For the time being, his focus is the formulation of his priority list for first 100 days, as challenges facing the country are grave. Moreover, he wants to include as many political forces in the federal and provincial governments and consultative teams have been involved in informal talks with the PML-F, PkMAP, NP, MQM and other forces,” a source close to the Sharif family revealed.
The source added that the PML-N chief had been successful in wooing PML-F chief Pir Pagara and his party would be joining the federal cabinet in its first phase.”The PML-F has agreed to join the federal cabinet. However, they have decided to sit in opposition in Sindh Assembly. Moreover, talks are also on with nationalist parties of Sindh and Balochistan for joining the coalition in the Centre as well as provinces,” the source added.
“While consultation process with other nationalist parties of Balochistan is on, we have agreed to form coalition government in Balochistan. Moreover, talks are on for government formation in Sindh and contacts have been established with the PPP, MQM, PML-F and other nationalist parties so as all political forces could be taken onboard to meet the challenges like terrorism, economic mess, energy shortage and others,” the source added.
The source added that Nawaz knew well that this time around, the challenges were many and he would be facing a strong opposition – possibly led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan who had given a very tough time to the Sharifs in the electioneering process.”Moreover, Nawaz knows that if his party does not perform, this might be his last chance, as times have changed and the people are aware. Moreover, he understands well that the heavy mandate his party has been given by the people across the country is a challenge and there is no room of any mistake this time around,” the source added.
He said once the political consultation was finalised and the election of speaker, deputy speaker and prime ministers were held, only then the issue of cabinet formation would arise, adding that one could not rule out the possibility of an in-house consultation in the family.When contacted, PML-N Secretary Information Mushahidullah Khan confirmed that for the time being, cabinet formation was not being discussed in his party.
“Since problems being faced by the country are grave, the concentration of the party leadership is to strive hard for evolving a joint strategy to resolve solutions of the mess like energy, economy, foreign policy and terrorism. Cabinet formation is not a priority for the time being,” he said.Khan said talks were being held with all parties who had representation in parliament and Nawaz was talking with an open heart and mind with all political stakeholders.
“You know, Nawaz is a statesman and he is talking to all forces,” he said, adding that cabinet formation was premature as there was no notification of election results by the Election Commission of Pakistan.”All buzz about cabinet formation is speculation. Nothing has been discussed formally yet,” he asserted.
PML-N sources, however, claim that Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had expressed his eagerness to serve as the chief minister of Punjab in case Shahbaz Sharif was tasked with tackling the ministry of energy. However, if his wish was not respected by the party leadership, Nisar was most likely to be appointed the federal minister for interior or petroleum, while Ishaq Dar may be given the portfolio of finance or foreign affairs.
Sartaj Aziz is also a strong contender for Ministry of finance or commerce, while Khwaja Saad Rafique may be tasked with the important task of information, despite the fact that Senator Pervez Rashid and Senator Mushahidullah Khan are vying for the same portfolio as well.Javed Malik may be appointed the adviser on overseas Pakistanis, while Shahid Khaqan Abbasi may be appointed minister for production. Ahsan Iqbal may be given the Ministry of Education and Technical Training. Information technology might go to Berjees Tahir, while Railways could fall to Ayaz Sadiq. – PT