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Pakistan: Six-member caretaker federal cabinet sworn-in
Following the appointment (June 1, 2018) of former Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Pakistan Nasirul Mulk as the country's seventh caretaker Prime Minister for holding transparent, free and fair general elections in Pakistan, to be held on July 25, 2018, a six-member caretaker federal cabinet was formed by Justice Mulk which took oath on June 5, 2018.

Newly inducted six federal caretaker ministers are: Abullah Hussain Haroon, Dr Shamshad Akhtar, Roshan Khursheed Bharucha, Syed Ali Zafar, Muhammad Yousuf Sheikh and Muhammad Azam Khan.

Abdullah Hussain Haroon has been appointed as caretaker Minister of Foreign Affairs and National Security Division with additional portfolios of Defense and Defense Production. 

Haroon's family originally belongs to Kutch, Gujarat (India) and he is the grandson of Sir Abdullah Haroon, who was a close associate of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Born in 1950 in Karachi, Hussain Haroon started his political career in 1970 as an Election Coordinator for Pakistan Muslim League (PML). He was Member of Sindh Provincial Assembly from 1985 to 1988, and then Speaker of the Sindh Assembly from 1985 to 1986. He was also leader of the opposition in Sindh Provincial Assembly from 1986 to 1988. 

In August 2008, Hussain Haroon was appointed as the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations by the then Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani of the PPP. His appointment remained controversial as Haroon had no prior experience in the Pakistan Foreign Service or international diplomacy. Haroon held his UN diplomatic post from 3 September 2008 to 1 January 2013.

Dr Shamshad Akhtar has been given charge of the Ministry of Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, Ministry of Statistics and Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms and additional portfolios of the Ministry of Commerce and Textile and Ministry of Industries and Production. She was the first female Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan from 2006 to2009. Before that she was the director general of Southeast Asia Department of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Before joining the federal caretaker government, she was an under-secretary-general of the UN and also served as an executive secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. In addition, Dr Akhtar also worked for 10 years as an economist in the World Bank's Resident Mission as well as in the federal and Sindh's planning offices.

Roshan Khurshid Bharucha has been appointed as Minister of Human Rights, Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan and Minister of States and Frontier Regions. She served as a minister in the Balochistan Assembly from 2000 and 2002, and worked in the departments of social welfare, information, population and information technology. She was also a Senator in the Senate of Pakistan from 2003 to 2006. Bharucha has more than 30 years of unified experience in the field of education apart from managing not for profit humanitarian organizations and working for the welfare of people of Balochistan for decades. She is internationally acknowledged social activist and worker.

Mohd Azam Khan who is a retired senior bureaucrat has been given charge of the Ministry of Interior, Capital Administration and Development Division and Ministry of Narcotics Control with additional charge of Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination. Azam Khan had served as Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 's chief secretary from September 1990 to July 1993. He was also Minister for Finance, Planning & Development of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa from October 24, 2007 to April 1, 2008.

Barrister Syed Ali Zafar Shah has been allocated Ministry of Law and Justice, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, Ministry of Information, Broadcasting, National History and Literary Heritage. He is a renowned legal expert and is the son of prominent human rights activist , noted lawyer and Senator SM Zafar. Barrister Syed Ali Zafar Shah had also been the General Secretary of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) in 2015-16.

In the list of newly appointed federal caretaker ministers, the name of a retired Major and renowned educationist Mohammad Yusuf Shaikh also appeared who had been given the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, with additional portfolios of Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination and Ministry of Religious Affairs and Inter-Faith Harmony. Yusuf Shaikh had served as General Staff Officer and Instructor at Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) Kakul in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He had also served a number of civil prestigious educational institutes of Sindh as a Principal or Director in his long career of an educationist.

Caretaker Prime Minister Justice (retd) Nasirul Mulk formed his six-member federal caretaker cabinet astutely. While giving proportional representation to all four provinces in his cabinet, Mulk also avoided inducting any minister, who in the recent past had any active political affiliation. Notably, Mulk, while taking cue from Pakistan Army's recent repeated claims to stay neutral in the forthcoming general elections, also avoided inducting any retired senior Army general in his caretaker federal cabinet. Notably, Mulk has also given a fair representation to women in his cabinet, as out of six ministers, two are women, one internationally renowned banker and the other a former legislator and internationally acknowledged social activists.

It is to be seen to which extent the caretaker federal cabinet would succeed in holding transparent, free and fair elections on July 25, 2018, as part of its constitutional obligation. In Pakistan's history, it is for the first time that a second consecutive democratic government completed its five-year term in office in May 2018 after successfully warding off regular pressures from various groups including the Army, conservatives and fundamentalists. Significantly, the caretaker federal government of Justice (retd) Mulk would play a pivotal role in further strengthening democracy and fulfilling peoples' political aspirations, only if it succeeds in overcoming direct or indirect pressure from the Army or the corrupt officials of the Election Commission of Pakistan.

However, whether the caretaker federal cabinet would act apolitically or not, it would be known only after July 25, 2018.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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