LAHORE - Rana Sanaullah Khan and Ayesha Ghuas Pasha on Friday took oath as Punjab ministers to look after the affairs of law and finance, respectively.

Punjab Governor Muhammad Rafiq Rajwana administered oath to the said ministers at the Governor House. The simple but impressive ceremony was witnessed by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, ministers, members of the assembly and senior bureaucrats.

Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif congratulated Rana Sanaullah Khan and Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha on assuming their new responsibilities.

Sources say the second phase of the cabinet expansion with at least three ministers is expected to happen after the Punjab budget. Adviser to CM on Health Khawaja Salman Rafiq and Punjab government Spokesman Zaeem Qadri were hopeful of joining the cabinet as ministers for health and information, respectively, in this round of nominations, but their induction has been deferred. Sources say removal or reshuffling of three ministers is also under consideration at the CM level over unsatisfactory working.

Rana Sanaullah Khan, a confidant of the chief minister, has been appointed second time as the law minister after he relinquished charge of this office on June 23 last year on being asked by the CM who then was facing a strong demand for resignation from Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) over killing of its 14 people on June 17.

Provincial Finance Minister Dr Ayesha Ghaus, who is a Lahore-based MPA, has been associated with the Finance Committee of the Punjab Assembly. She has made a big contribution to the committees set up for price control, energy, education and development programmes for South Punjab. Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman was previously supervising the affairs of law and finance.

Rana Sanaullah was inducted in the Punjab cabinet after May 2013 elections. Outspoken and legal wizard of the Punjab government, Rana also performed well as minister for local government with a noticeable role in the framing of the present Local Government Act. A staunch Muslim Leaguer from Faisalabad, Rana Sana obeyed orders of the CM last year and resigned when a tremendous pressure was mounted by the PAT for resignations of the PM, the CM, Rana, several ministers and others, alleging their involvement in the killing of its workers at Model Town. It had become necessary for reinstatement of Rana Sana after he was given a clean chit by the Model Town tragedy probe body.

In order to judge the role of the persons nominated as accused by the PAT, a probe through a judicial commission and a joint investigation team was held. The commission and the JIT completed their respective reports which were not officially published, but it was made public that the commission has sought further probe into some vital points on which another JIT was formed. The second JIT in its report last week exonerated all political figures of the charges levelled by the PAT which did not join the inquiry held by the commission and the JITs at any stage despite repeated calls. After the clean chit was given to politicians by the second JIT, Rana Sanaullah was reinstated as law minister.

It is worthy to note that the PAT, Led by Khurram Nawaz Gondapur, held a protest last day outside the Governor House against reinstatement of Rana Sana. The PAT protesters were stopped from proceeding further to the Governor’s House and pushed to the road leading to Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Talking to media, Gundapur said the JIT had not so far completed its final report and was still summoning the witnesses. He alleged the government was holding a bogus JIT report and vowed to stage a strong protest against the restoration of Rana Sana.