South Asia

Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s cabinet sworn in

Photo by Dawn.

The 19-member cabinet of Pakistan’s newly-elected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was sworn in on Monday in a ceremony at the President’s Office in Islamabad. President Asif Ali Zardari administered the oaths to the ministers in the presence of Sharif.

The inauguration follows Sharif’s appointment as prime minister after his Pakistan Muslim League-N party formed an alliance with other parties. Sharif, who previously served as prime minister from April 2022 to August 2023, succeeded Imran Khan.

Facing an economic crisis, power outages, a rise in militant attacks, and tense relations with neighboring Taliban-run Afghanistan, the new premier is expected to convene with cabinet members to tackle these challenges.

The cabinet includes notable figures such as Ishaq Dar, a former finance minister; Khawaja Mohammad Asif, a former defense minister in Sharif’s previous cabinet; and Mohsin Naqvi, the former caretaker chief minister of Punjab province.

While President Zardari, who plays a ceremonial role and is a key ally of Sharif, has not yet secured a cabinet position for his Pakistan People’s Party, his son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, served as the foreign minister in Sharif’s last administration.

On Sunday, police detained dozens of supporters of the ousted prime minister, Imran Khan, who were protesting alleged election fraud in the recent parliamentary elections. Khan’s party has accused the election of being rigged to prevent them from securing a majority, a claim denied by election officials.