ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People’s Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari finally joined the federal cabinet as foreign minister, under Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

President Dr Arif Alvi administered the oath of office to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as the federal minister. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif witnessed the oath-taking ceremony here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, which was attended by former president Asif Ali Zardari, ex-prime ministers Yousuf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, and a large number of MPs, party leaders and workers, and senior government officials and media persons.

The close family members of Bilawal Bhutto including his sister Aseefa Bhutto and maternal aunt Sanam Bhutto – the sister of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, also attended the ceremony. Bilawal has the honour of becoming the youngest 37th foreign minister of the country as he was sworn in at the age of 33 years, seven months and six days.

After taking oath Bilawal Bhutto called on President Arif Alvi and discussed matters related to the foreign policy. The president congratulated him over assuming the office of the foreign minister.

Bilawal has to mend ties with the United States and other western countries which are annoyed with the previous government’s closeness to Russia amid the Ukraine invasion. Just ahead of his oath-taking, three Chinese nationals were killed in Karachi which has infuriated Beijing. Relationships with the Arab countries have also been deteriorated due to various reasons and need overhauling.

Immediately after being sworn in, Bilawal went straight to the foreign ministry and was briefed by the officials led by Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar was also present.

Later, the foreign minister paid visit to the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad. He was accompanied by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hina Rabbani Khar.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari expressed grief over the loss of precious lives in the terrorist attack on Chinese nationals in Karachi.

The relationship between Pakistan and China is a series of loyalty across generations, he maintained.

Bilawal said that the terrorists made a failed attempt to strike on the basis of the Pakistan-China friendship. The malicious intentions of terrorists could not sabotage Pakistan-China friendship, he remarked.

PPP leader Shazia Marri, who is also the Federal Minister for Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety, said that country needed a foreign minister like Bilawal Bhutto Zardari because former Prime Minister Imran Khan had ‘isolated’ the Pakistan in the world.

She said Bilawal would restore the dignity of the country like his grandfather Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and his mother Benazir Bhutto.

“Free, independent and dignified foreign policy is our government’s main principle ,  and world will see Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as the best foreign minister in coming days,” she contended.