LAHORE - The PML-N leadership seems to have abandoned the idea of expansion in Punjab Cabinet which was long due after separation of PPP from Punjab coalition on Feb 25th this year. Well-placed sources in Punjab government told The Nation on Sunday that the plan to expand the Cabinet has been shelved, at least for the time being due to political expediencies. Punjab Governments spokesperson, Pervaiz Rashid told The Nation that the decision to expand size of the provincial Cabinet has been shelved since members of the Unification Bloc decided not to accept Ministries in lieu of their support to the PML-N government. He was of the view that it was economical to run the government with small Cabinet. He said that though the Constitution, after the 18th Amendment, allowed the government to have a maximum of 41 provincial ministers. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif believes in a small Cabinet, he stated. Unlike the contention of Senator Pervaiz Rashid, many, however, believe that PML-N was forced to take back its decision to expand the Cabinet following Punjab Governor Sardar Latif Khosas threat that he would not administer oath to members of the Forward Bloc, as he maintained at that time that it was violation of defection clause of the Constitution to take Ministers from a political party against the will of its party head. The threat seems to have worked as PML-N has now put off expansion in the Cabinet. Currently, the Punjab government is doing with only nine Ministers, some of whom are looking after the affairs of more then five departments. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif himself is holding charge of around a dozen Ministries. It may be noted that Punjab government had announced to expand the Cabinet in February this year when seven PPP Ministers were de-notified after a political decision by PML-N to part ways with the PPP in Punjab. It was then decided to induct some members of the Unification Bloc into the Cabinet alongwith a few MPAs from the PML-N to fill the vacant slots. Earlier, Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan said many a times that Punjab Cabinet will be expanded soon despite a decision by the Unification Bloc that they were not interested in taking Ministries. The names of Mian Yawar Zaman from Okara, Saeed Akbar Khan Niwani from Bhakkar, Ch Ayaz Ahmad from Rawalpindi, Ch Shafique from Rahimyar Khan and Shahzadi Omerzadi Tiwana from Sargodha, had been making rounds in political circles as probable Ministers. A proposal to have more Ministers from Southern Punjab had also been under consideration of the PML-N for quite some time, but it has not been implemented as yet. The idea was to strengthen party position in this region which is stronghold of the PPP and the PML-Q. Currently, four Ministers, namely, Haji Ehsanuddin Qureshi, Dost Muhammad Khosa, Malik Iqbal Channer and Ahmad Ali Aulakh are representing the Southern belt out of total nine Ministers. Sardar Zulfiqar Khosa, also from the same region, is serving as Senior Adviser to the Chief Minister. Out of the nine PML-N Ministers, Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman is holding charge of six departments including Excise & Taxation, Higher Education, School Education, Literacy and Non-Formal Basis Education and Transport. Similarly, Ahmad Ali Aulakh, is also looking after over half a dozen departments including Agriculture, Irrigation, Cooperatives, Livestock & Dairy Development, Forest, Fisheries & Wildlife, Tourism & Resort Development. Kamran Michael is taking care of four departments, including Human Rights, Minorities Affairs, Women Development and Finance. Rana Sanaullah is also looking into the affairs of Revenue department besides Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Prosecution Department. Haji Ehsan-ud-Din Qureshi is holding portfolios of Religious Affairs and Auqaf, Bait-ul-Maal and Labour departments. Sardar Dost Muhammad Khan Khosa has been given change of Commerce & Investment, Nadeem Kamran, Zakat & Ushr, Ch. Abdul Ghafoor, Food and Mines and Minerals. Malik Muhammad Iqbal Channer, Minister Prisons, is the only Minister with single department.