Islamabad: New Cabinet took oath in an oath taking ceremony held in the President House on Friday evening in what the government calls a new and smaller cabinet but mostly old faces were inducted into the cabinet. President Zardari administered the oath taking ceremony of 22 federal ministers. Firdous Ashiq Awan is being nominated for Ministry of Information according to reports. Samina Ghurki is federal Minister for Population Welfare. Besides these Ministers few more expected in next phase.
The cabinet ministers who took oath include Khursheed Shah, Naveed Qamar, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Shahbaz Bhatti, Israrullah Zahri, Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, Firdous Ashiq Awan, Arbab Alamgir, Khuda Bakhsh Rajar, Changaiz Jamali, Umar Gauraij, Raza Rabbani, Naveed Qamar, Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Samina Khalid Ghurki, Manzoor Wattoo, Makhdoom Shahabuddin, Makhdoom Amin Fahim and Mir Hazar Khan Bajrani. Hina Rabbani took oath separately as State Minister. Prominent members of the previous federal cabinet, who had not been included in the cabinet, are Qamar Zaman Kaira, Raja Parvez Ahsraf and Nazar Muhammad Gondal.
Earlier, President Asif Ali Zardari approved the resignations of Federal Ministers. On Thursday, PM has removed Federal Ministers Pir Syed Fazal Ali Shah Gilani, Salman Farooqi, Khali Ahmed, Ch Abdul Ghafoor and Farzana Raja and State Ministers Salim Mandwiwala, Dr Ishfaq Ahmed, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri and Dr Nadeemul Haq from their positions. On Wednesday, all the Federal Ministers tendered their resignations to Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani during the cabinet meeting.
Bloated cabinet last year caused damages of $9.7 billion, the government is under huge pressure to introduce economic reforms and meet International Monetary Fund (IMF) targets agreed in a 2008 bailout package. A reduction in the size of the cabinet is required under the 18th amendment to the constitution, which says it should be no larger than 11 percent of parliament, making it total maximum of 49 members.
Portfolios of all 22 Ministers have yet not been announced, however speculations are circulating in media.