While many will criticise Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbassi for the large size of his newly installed cabinet, one would do well to remember that there was an equal amount of criticism levelled on ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, for his penchant to juggle several portfolios on his own. An equipped cabinet, with each minister holding a portfolio they are responsible for, is a welcome change. And if it was Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbassi who convinced the spiritual leader of the PML-N — Mian Nawaz Sharif — to allow this departure from the tradition of past years, more power to him.

The larger size of cabinet clearly indicates the political strategy of the PML-N government to contest the elections with full force, and with an array of completed projects to woo the voting public with. Rumours and speculations may loom over the future of the cabinet, as there is no confirmation yet of the expected tenure of the newly elected Prime Minister. But opposition leaders may be feeling uncomfortable that whether for 45 days, or 10 months, the new premiere seems to be fully in control and unbothered about how long he might be in the seat. Whether 45 days or 10 months, Prime Minister Abbassi has hit the ground running.

Yet, not all in the new Prime Minister’s cabinet will be a help to him. The tetchy Khawaja Asif has been installed in the Foreign Ministry, perhaps the one place where he will annoy the establishment even more than his previous posting as Minister of Defence.

Mr Daniyal Aziz, a regular defender of the PML-N on talk shows, outside the SC, on Twitter, and anywhere else he gets the chance, appears to be in a sulk. While it was common knowledge that Mr Aziz’s spirited defence of the N leadership and especially the Sharifs was more out of the desire for a ministry than necessary long founded loyalty, it was perhaps not expected that when Mr Aziz was offered a Minister of State title, he saw fit to sniff at it, and say he deserved more. While his generous opinion of himself is his right, Mr Aziz would do well to remember that Ms Maryam Aurangzeb, another Minister of State, has earned herself a reputation as a force to be reckoned with. Minister of State is a title that is a privilege to hold. If he does not share this view, then certainly the title of Federal Minister is beyond him.

A word must be mentioned for Sartaj Aziz and Choudhary Nisar Ali, both of whom are missing from the current cabinet list. For Choudhary Nisar, it may take a Shehbaz Sharif premiereship to coax him back to the interior ministry. But Mr Sartaj Aziz may yet emerge in his previous post as Advisor on Foreign Affairs.