As consultations on cabinet formation continued on Thursday, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has picked up some members of his cabinet who would take oath at a special ceremony to be held at Aiwan-e-Sadr today. President Asif Ali Zardari will administer the oath to the new ministers.

It could not be confirmed till filing of this report as how many ministers would be taking oath, yet credible parliamentary and officials sources said the Prime Minister has finalized names of more than a dozen federal ministers. Names of remaining to be inducted in the federal cabinet would be ready for oath by the time Nawaz Sharif returns from Saudi Arabia.

According to the sources, those who are expected to take oath as federal minister in first phase of the cabinet included Senator Ishaq Dar, Ch. Nisar Ali Khan, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Shahid Khakan Abbasi, Khurram Dastagir Khan, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Zahid Hamid, Senator Pervez Rashed and Ahsen Iqbal from Punjab, Sadar Muhammad Yousaf Khan from Khyber Pukhtunkhewa, Lt. General (retd) Abdul Qadir Baluch from Baluchsitan and Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi and Pir Sadruddin Rashidi (PML-F) from Sindh.

Likewise, there are three names including former ambassador Tariq Fattami, Ghaus Ali Shah and Ameer Muqqam who are likely to take oath as Advisors to the Prime Minister.

Javaid-ur-Rahman adds: As around dozen of ruling party’s (PML-N) members and two from coalition partners will take oath as federal ministers today (Friday) in the first phase, the sure and expected allied parties may not get a big chunk in the small cabinet. “The ruling PML-N unlike previous government taking a bit long time as long list of aspirants, including the expected coalition partner-JUI-F, want their share in the federal cabinet,” a senior PML-N leader shared with TheNation.

“The matters of party members had almost been finalised around couple of days before but the chunk for allied partners made it to announce first phase till today (Friday),” he said.

About allied partner, the party member said that the name of Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi of the National People’s Party (NPP) and Pir Sadaruddin Shah Rashidi from PML-F are included in the first phase of the cabinet. Because of keeping small size of the cabinet, he said the coalition partners may get not more than one seat.

The matter of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), which is yet not clear either they would sit on opposition benches or opt for treasury benches, has also played a role in delaying formation of cabinet.

Albeit the ruling faction has comfortable majority to form government in the National Assembly yet they are in mood to consider the religio-political party JUI-F to sit with them not only on treasury benches but also part of cabinet.

But, repeating previous history to grab maximum share the JUI-F has demanded three portfolios, which was turned down as PML-N is interested to give them only one ministry (If they joined federal government). 

It would not be out of place to mention here that the PML-N had already refused Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) to form coalition government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa, providing chance to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf(PTI) that has secured large number of seat as compared to other factions to form government.

A source said that the Pakhtunkhwa Mili Awami Party(PkMA) might not get any federal ministry at least in the first phase of the cabinet because it has got share the slot of governor in Balochistan.

When contacted, PML-N senior leader Ahsan Iqbal expressed ignorance about formation of cabinet, saying that he had no information about this as yet.