KARACHI – An 18-member caretaker cabinet of the Sindh province was sworn in on Saturday which is largely dominated by industrialists and agriculturists having close links with two former coalition partners – the PPP and the MQM.

Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad administered the oath to 16 ministers and two advisors in a ceremony at the Governor’s House on Saturday afternoon which was also witnessed by Chief Minister Justice (retired) Zahid Kurban Alvi and senior officials of the provincial government.

Those who took the oath are not directly involved with politics as most of them belong to the business community, agriculture sector and technocracy, but do have a close association with the PPP and the MQM.

The cabinet is comprised of industrialist and economist Shabr Zaidi, former chairman of Sindh Revenue Board Shaqeeb Qureshi, women activist Anees Haroon, dramatist Noorul Huda Shah, Ghulam Qasim Jiskani, Iqbal Dawood Pakwala, Abdul Qadir Chohan, Haroon Farooqui, Shareef Ansari, Dr NK Lohana, Sardar Khan Ghoto, Nawab Qulab Hussain Lahori, Sardar Khan Khoso, Khalid Tawab, Sardar Yaseen Malik, Mehmoodul Hassan Mandiwala, Mian Zahid Hussain and Dr Junaid Shah.

Sources said the caretaker chief minister chose his cabinet members in consultation with PPP and MQM leaders. Of the 18 members, 10 were recommended by the PPP, while the remaining nominees were from the MQM.

The portfolios for the cabinet ministers would be announced within the next 24 hours, as the two former allies had already reached an understating in this respect. It is likely that the home minister comes from the PPP side, and the finance minister from the MQM.

PROFILES:

Shabar Zaidi is a chartered accountant and a financial expert. He has remained the chief of the Chartered Accountants’ Association for some time. Zaidi was one of the members of MQM economic bloc that finalised the shadow budget proposals.

Sardar Yaseen Malik is an industrialist and an owner of a pharmaceutical company. He is closely linked to the MQM.

Junaid Shah is son of former sports minister late Dr Muhammad Ali Shah, former MQM MPA.

Mian Zahid Hussain is an industrialist of Karachi. He has served as the chief of the Korangi Association of Trade (KATI) as well as Flour Millers’ Association. Hussain has been made part of the caretaker cabinet due to his proximity with the MQM.

The other members, Shariful Hassan Ansari, Mehmood Mandiwala, Haroon Farooqui and Khalid Nawab, have close association with both the parties. Sardar Khan Ghoto is learnt to have close association with Mahar brothers and PPP leader Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah of Sukkur. Ghoto started his political career as a union council nazim under military dictator Pervez Musharraf’s local government system. He had also been elected tehsil nazim of Ghotki twice. Nawab Qulabul Hussain Lahori belongs to Larkana city. He has close links with the PPP.

Sardar Ghulam Qasim Jiskani is an agriculturist and belongs to Kotdiji tehsil of Khairpur district. He was elected union council nazim from his area from the platform of PPP’s Awam Dost panel.

Iqbal Dawoon Pakwala is also an industrialist who comes from Sukkur. He has close affiliation with the PPP. Pakwala was elected as naib-nazim in 2004 from the platform of PPP’s Awam Dost panel. He is a close aide of top PPP leader Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah. Pakwala is also learnt to have submitted his nomination forms for a Sukkur provincial seat in the next elections.

Khalid Latif was serving as chairman of the Zakat Committee in Karachi. He has a close association with the PPP.

Shaqeeb Qureshi was serving as chairman of the Sindh Revenue Board. He is considered a close aide of President Asif Ali Zardari. A retired bureaucrat, Qureshi also served the Police Department. It may be recalled that his name was nominated in Murtaza Bhutto assassination case along with Asif Ali Zadari. He was appointed chairman of the Sindh Revenue Board upon his return from London when he got acquitted in the high-profile assassination case ending his self-imposed exile.

Dr NK Lohana is a doctor by profession and belongs to Kunri town of Umerkot district of Thar area. Besides being a doctor, he is also a businessman and has close association with the decision-makers in the PPP and other political parties. He also served as the chief of the PML-Q minority wing during the Musharraf regime.

Anees Haroon, a women rights activist, has served as the chairperson of the National Commission on Status of Women. She also remained the resident director of the Aurat Foundation, an organisation working for women empowerment in the country. Haroon had been an active member of women action forum. She came out on the streets to protest against military dictator General (retired) Ziaul Haq. She has remained at the forefront in every pro-democracy struggle, movement for human rights and women rights in the country. She is considered as a neutral figure in the social sector as she does not have any political association with any group. It is expected that she may get the portfolio for the Women Development Department in the interim cabinet.

Noorul Huda Shah is a dramatist and author of many books. She earned huge respect and fame as a writer. She is a non-political personality in the interim cabinet.