ISLAMABAD  -   As the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, being the single largest party in the National Assembly, is going to form the next federal government, many die-hard party workers and some members of its coalition partners are in the line to become members of Imran Khan’s next cabinet.

Those who will be key members of the would-be prime minister’s cabinet are those faces of the party who either have remained closely associated with the PTI chief for the last five years or have worked for the party.

Among the likely cabinet members of the next government in the centre, PTI Vice-Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi is on the top of the list who might be the next foreign minister of the country. He also remained the foreign minister during the tenure of the last Pakistan People’s Party government.

Asad Umar and Shafqat Mahmood, the two senior party leaders, would also be the cabinet members.

Umar, member-elect of the National Assembly, is being portrayed as the next finance minister owing to his finance background. The last PTI government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa had been getting the advice of Umar on key economic matters.

Shafqat Mahmood is a former bureaucrat and he would also hold a key cabinet position and he is being named as the foreign minister or interior minister.

According to PTI sources, Qureshi was no more interested in the foreign minister slot and wanted to contest by-election of a provincial assembly seat to get the slot of Punjab chief minister.

According to the PTI sources, Dr Arif Alvi, the MNA-elect from Karachi, might be given a key position in the PTI-led federal government. Dr Alvi’s name is being discussed within the PTI circle as the next speaker of the National Assembly.

If the party did not nominate him for the speaker’s slot, he would surely get a position in the Khan’s cabinet. Shafqat Mahmood is also being dubbed as a candidate for the NA speaker.

Dr Shireen Mazari is an old member of the PTI and she would also be given a cabinet slot. She is also the strong contender for the foreign minister slot.  Within the PTI circle, she is being declared a favourite for the defence minister’s slot. Dr Mazari has the background in foreign affairs and defence and strategic studies.

PTI information secretary Fawad Chaudhry is also a strong contender for the information minister’s slot.

PTI Senator Faisal Javed Khan is also the contender for the information ministry slot but he can be adjusted as a state minister.

Some senior PTI leaders are of the view that the information ministry should be disbanded and it should be made a wing of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa former chief minister Pervaiz Khattak is also being considered a strong candidate for the interior minister’s slot in case he vacated his provincial assembly seat. He is also a strong contender for the KP chief minister’s slot.

The PTI will also adjust its senior leader Senator Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar who will be given a key position in the cabinet of Khan.

The party can hand him over the task of the ministry of overseas Pakistanis because of his close association with the overseas Pakistanis especially living in the UK.

Major (retd) Tahir Sadiq who has won two National Assembly seats from Attock and a provincial assembly seat can also be given some position in the federal cabinet because he is also a close relative of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid leader Chaudhry Pervez Elahi. Sadiq is also a candidate for the Punjab chief minister’s position.

The PTI will also give a cabinet slot to Makhdoom Khushro Bakhtiar who was among the founders of Janoobi Punjab Suba Mahaz (South Punjab Province Front), a front that was formed just some weeks prior to the elections aimed to struggle for the establishment of south Punjab as a separate province, and later the front merged with the PTI.

Among the non-elected members of the PTI, it is likely that Malik Amin Aslam will be made adviser to the prime minister on the environment and later could be elevated to the environment minister if he won the by-elections on one seat of Attock to be vacated by Major (retd) Tahir Sadiq.

He has led the billion tree tsunami programme during the last five-year term of the PTI government in KP. 

Similarly, Ishaq Khan Khakwani might be adjusted as an adviser or a special assistant to the prime minister as he is an old party worker. He lost the National Assembly election from district Vehari.

Among its coalition partners, the PTI will give a cabinet slot to Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed. He is being considered a favourite for the railway's ministry slot. The PTI can offer a ministry to PML-Q leader Pervaiz Elahi.

Fawad Chaudhry has already said that the party will accommodate its coalition partners in the federal cabinet. It is likely that it would also offer some cabinet slots to the Balochistan Awami Party and the Grand Democratic Alliance, a Sindh based electoral alliance.

And the Muttahida Quami Movement will also be adjusted in the cabinet if it became a coalition partner of the PTI in the centre.

 

IMRAN MUKHTAR