ISLAMABAD – Abrar Saeed - The PML-Q got another big pie from the federal coalition government Monday night when Chaudhry Pervez Elahi was appointed as the deputy prime minister of the country.
A government notification said Pervaiz Elahi would serve as deputy PM with immediate effect but he could not exercise any of the powers of the chief executive (PM). The position reportedly has been created to provide a backup for the times when the PM is unavailable or incapacitated.
Earlier the same day, some 15 federal and state ministers belonging to PML-Q also took oath of their office. President Asif Ali Zardari administered oath to them at a ceremony held at the President House.
These developments came following successful negotiations between the PPP and the PML-Q over sharing of the ministries in the federal cabinet. The PML-Q, once a mainstay for Musharraf, has been demanding deputy PM’s post for quite some time, and ouster of Yousuf Raza Gilani as the PM and opportunity of renegotiating the partnership terms for helping in forming a new government won it another chance to make more gains from the PPP.
On Friday, Elahi had taken oath as the sole senior minister in prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf’s cabinet as the federal minister for defence production and industries. As per the cabinet division notification, he would continue to hold that portfolio as well.
The notification read: “The prime minister has been pleased to designate Ch Pervaiz Elahi, Federal Minister for Defence Production and Industries, as deputy prime minister with immediate effect and until further orders. This shall not confer upon him any powers of the prime minister in any manner whatsoever.“
The cabinet division Monday evening also notified some six advisers to the PM. These new advisers include Ahmad Yar Hiraj, Hussain Muhammad Leghari, Syed Qasim Shah, Muhammad Naseer Khan Mengal, Ms Shahnaz Wazir Ali and Ch Imtiaz Ahmad Ranjha.
The new cabinet members included Ch Wajahat Hussain, Sheikh Waqas Akram, Ghaus Bakhash Mehar, Sardar Bahadur Khan Sehar, Anwar Cheema, Jam Muhammad Yousaf, Talib Nakai and Liaqat Bhatti who took oath as federal ministers. While Sardar Shahjahan Yousuf, Khawaja Sheraz Mehmood, Akram Maseh Gill, Asif Tauseef, Saed Khan Mandokhel, Nauman Ahmad Langerial and Chaudhry Riaz Ahmad were sworn in as state ministers.
Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and a large number of ministers and parliamentarians attended the swearing-in ceremony. With the induction of another 15 members, all of them from PML-Q, the total strength of the cabinet reached to 51, of them there are now 33 federal ministers and 18 state ministers.
As the PML-Q men joined the cabinet, three former ministers of the party, Faisal Saleh Hayat, Raza Yayat Haraj and Riaz Hussain Pirzada, stayed away from the process. All the three had different reasons for their refusal.
Faisal Saleh Hayat was party against Raja Pervaiz Ashraf in Rental Power Project case in Supreme Court while Raza Hayat Haraj and Riaz Hussain Pirzada were unhappy over the portfolios offered to them. Sources informed that Ch Shujaat and Pervaiz Elahi made enormous efforts to bring back the annoyed members, but they stick to their stands.