Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman on Saturday administered the oath to the newly-elected 21-member provincial cabinet, comprising all PTI members, days after the Supreme Court had declared Pervaiz Elahi the province’s executive on winning 186 votes in the run-off elections of the Punjab Assembly.

The oath-taking ceremony was held at the Governor’s House in Lahore.

PTI leaders Murad Raas, Yasmin Rashid, Muhammad Mohsin Khan Leghari, Raja Basharat, Khurram Shahzad Virk, and others have been included in the cabinet.

It was speculated that the governor, belonging to the PML-N, may not swear in the PTI and PML-Q lawmakers, given that PTI’s Omar Sarfaraz Cheema, did not swear in PML-N’s Hamza Shehbaz as chief minister and after the post changed hands, Rehman did not administer the oath to Chief Minister Elahi.

In the new cabinet, the Finance portfolio has been given to Mohsin Leghari; the home and prisons department has been put under the control of retired Col Hashim Dogar; law and parliamentary affairs to Khurram Virk; Dr Yasmin Rashid has been retained as health minister, Raja Yasir Humayun as higher education and IT minister and Murad Raas as school education minister.

Former home and law minister Basharat Raja has been assigned the cooperatives and prosecution portfolio; Asif Nikai has been selected for the excise and taxation department, while Ali Sahi was given the communication and works (C&W) department.

Taimur Malik will lead sports and culture, Ansar Niazi (Labour), Muneeb Cheema (Transport), Shahabuddin Sehar (Livestock), Nawabzada Mansur Khan (Revenue), Jahanian Gardezi (Agriculture), Ghazananfar Abbas Chheena (social welfare), Latif Nazar (Mines and Minerals), Hasnanim Dareshak (Energy and food), Mian Mahmoodur Rasheed (Local Government), Mian Aslam Iqbal (Housing and Industries) and Ali Abbas Shah (Forest and Wildlife). Omar Sarfraz Cheema has been selected as an adviser to chief minister on information.

In the television footage of the ceremony, chants of “Ayi ayi, PTI” (here comes PTI) rung out immediately after the leaders took oath.

The question on who will comprise the Punjab cabinet was finalised during a meeting between PTI chief Imran Khan and Elahi on Thursday. The names finalised by Imran were handed over to the chief minister’s son, MNA Moonis Elahi.

Moonis had received the list of the proposed first phase 21-member cabinet and assured PTI chairman Imran Khan that he had already given Punjab’s chief ministership to the PML-Q and nothing more was required. He added that Khan told him that the PML-Q parliamentarians would also be inducted into the provincial cabinet in the second phase.


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