ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar’s cabinet is poised to formally assume office today at 5pm, subsequent to an official declaration of the selected members, according to insider sources.
The temporary premier concluded consultations regarding his cabinet constituents on Wednesday, with a number of familiar names potentially occupying significant positions within the provisional administration.
Insiders indicate that Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, the former governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), is a probable choice for the role of finance minister, as reported by The News. Additionally, Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani, a former foreign secretary, is under consideration for the interim foreign minister post.
Earlier this week, Dr. Akhtar, who previously served as the finance minister in the caretaker government preceding the 2018 general election, was bestowed with the Nishan-i-Imtiaz award by President Dr. Arif Alvi on Independence Day.
Dr. Akhtar had a tenure as the SBP governor from January 2, 2006, spanning three years, during which she became the first woman to head the nation’s central bank.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Jilani boasts 38 years of experience in bilateral and multilateral diplomacy as a public servant. His roles have included serving as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, Belgium, Luxemburg, the EU, and Australia. Notably, he was the foreign secretary in 2012 and played a pivotal role in the negotiations and finalization of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), including the signing of key agreements for the project during the visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang under the then Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) administration.
High-level sources within the Prime Minister’s Secretariat have intimated that Dr. Gohar Ejaz, a prominent figure in the textile industry and Chief Executive of Ejaz Group of Companies, is likely to be designated as the interim federal minister for commerce and industries.
The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has verified that Dr. Ejaz is scheduled to take the oath as the minister for commerce and industries today.
Earlier, insider reports to Private TV Channel hinted at the potential appointment of defense analyst Syed Muhammad Ali for the information ministry.
Additionally, it has been unveiled that Sultan Ali Allana, a distinguished banker, was initially considered for the position of caretaker finance minister. However, due to his dual citizenship, alternative candidates are now being contemplated for the role.
According to sources, the names of former finance minister Hafeez Sheikh and former SBP governor Raza Baqir are not currently in consideration for the caretaker finance minister role.
Furthermore, Senator Sarfraz Bugti’s name is anticipated to be confirmed for the role of interior minister, leveraging his prior experience as the minister of home and tribal affairs of Balochistan.
Previous reports indicated that the interim prime minister intends to retain three senior aides from his predecessor Shehbaz Sharif’s team.
Additionally, it has been disclosed that the interim prime minister has granted retirement to principal secretary to the prime minister (PSPM) Dr. Syed Tauqir Hussain Shah, while former advisor to the PM Ahad Cheema and joint secretary Mohib Ali are also transitioning from their roles.
Shah will continue as PSPM until October this year, after which he will assume the position of group executive director for Pakistan at the World Bank for a period of four years.
Cheema is expected to assume a role comparable to a federal minister, and Press Secretary to the PM Abdul Akbar is among the officers who will continue their service.
Furthermore, sources have revealed that Arshad Muneer Khan, promoted to grade-21, is slated for the position of principal information officer (PIO).
Military Secretary (MS) to the Prime Minister Brigadier Tajdeed Mumtaz will also remain in his capacity.
The interim federal cabinet is anticipated to be relatively small, with a focus on including individuals of high repute.
The interim prime minister is set to assign specific responsibilities to his cabinet members based on their respective portfolios.