QUETTA - The long running issue of formation of provincial cabinet was finally resolved on Monday when eleven members of Balochistan Assembly took oath as provincial ministers to provide a reasonable strength to the ridiculously under-sized 3-member body.
Balochistan Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai administered oath to new ministers in a simple but dignified ceremony at the Governor House. Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, members of provincial assembly, officials of civil administration and notables attended the oath-taking.
Five members of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and 3 members each from Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PKMAP) and National Party (NP) took oath as ministers. One minister each from these three parties had already taken oath on June 19 and now the strength of the cabinet has risen to 14.
The PML-N members who took oath are: Nawabazada Changez Khan Marri, Sardar Sarfiraz Domki, Mir Sarfiraz Bugti, Izhar Khan Khosa and Jaffar Khan Mandokhel. The PKMAP new ministers are Nawab Ayaz Khan Jogezai, Dr Hamid Achakzai and Sardar Mustafa Tareen while NP members are Sardar Aslam Bezinjo, Mujeebur Rehman Muhammad Hassani and Rehmat Saleh Baloch.
The three ministers who had taken oath on June 19 are Sardar Sanaullah Zehri of PML-N, Abdul Rahim Ziaratwal of PKMAP and Nawab Muhammad Shahwani of NP. Besides 14 ministers, five advisers would also be taken – two each from PML-N and PKMAP while one from NP.
The portfolios of ten ministers were announced later in the day. According to a notification, PML-N’s Nawab Sanaullah Zehri has been given Communication and Construction, Mining, Mineral Development and Industries; Mir Izhar Khosa of PML-N has been allotted Food, Women Development; and Mir Sarfiraz Bugti of the same party has been given Interior and Tribal Affairs and Prisons and Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA). The portfolio of Irrigation and Energy Department has been given to Nawabazada Changez Marri; Revenue Excise and Taxation, and Transport to Sheik Jaffar Khan Mandokhel; and Manpower, Social Welfare, and Informal Education to Sardar Sarfiraz Domki.
The ministries allotted to National Party are: Services & General Administration to Nawab Muhammad Khan Shahwani, Agriculture to Sardar Muhammad Aslam Bezinjo, Health to Rehmat Saleh Baloch while Minorities, Human Rights, Sports, Culture, Archives, Welfare and Youth Affairs, Museum and Tourism to Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Muhammad Hassani.
According to another notification three advisers and their departments have been announced. Abdul Majid Abro is Adviser on Inter Provincial Communication, Ushr and Haj Auqaf; Akbar Askani on Fisheries, Pasni Fish Harbour Authority while Khalid Humayun Langov has been made adviser of Finance Department.
For the first time in the history of Balochistan a man who is neither Sardar nor Nawab became chief minister of the province. But, 10 members of the 14-member cabinet are Sardars, Nawabs and tribal notables, which shows the hold of traditional system on the apparently democratic set-up. Moreover, no women or minority representative has been inducted in the cabinet. Talking to The Nation, NP MPA Yasmeen Lehri said she and some other women attended the oathtaking with heavy heart as there was no representation of women which was unjust. “There should have been women members in the cabinet because women deserve it as they are dedicated and hardworking.” But she said the NP alone could not be blamed for it because it was a coalition government and the decisions were made with consensus. PML-Q MPA Ruqia Saeed Hashmi also regretted non-representation of women.