KARACHI: With nine ministers, four advisers and as many special assistants, newly elected Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah formed his 17-member cabinet on Saturday to carry forward his ambitious agenda he unveiled after taking oath of his new office a day earlier.
Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan administered the oath to the nine ministers — Nisar Khuhro, Dr Sikandar Mandhro, Makhdoom Jameel-uz-Zaman, Jam Mehtab Dahar, Sohail Anwar Siyal, Jam Khan Shoro, Mukesh Chawla, Syed Sardar Shah and Shameem Mumtaz — at a ceremony held at Governor House.
Later, the services and general administration department notified the portfolios of the ministers as well as of new advisers and special assistants.
Certain important portfolios, including home affairs, finance, planning and development, were not allocated to any of the 17 members of the provincial cabinet.
Mr Siyal, who was the home minister in the Qaim Ali Shah-led cabinet, has been given a less important portfolio of agriculture department, as security establishment had seriously demanded his removal from the office of home minister. But many believed that his inclusion in the new cabinet showed that the Pakistan Peoples Party had not fully retreated from its fortifications.
The old guards featuring the cabinet included Mr Khuhro (Food and parliamentary affairs), Dr Mandhro (Health), Makhdoom Jameel (Revenue and relief) and Mr Dahar (Education).
Mr Khuhro was a senior minister and held the portfolio of education in the previous cabinet.
Dr Mandhro held various portfolios previously but was finally contended with a modest environment department.
Mr Dahar had been health minister while Makhdoom Jameel was a relief minister previously and was part of a controversy involving deaths of children in Thar that created quite a stir in the media.
The portfolios of Mr Shoro and Mr Chawla remained unchanged and they would continue to look after the local government and excise departments, respectively.
Sardar Shah and Ms Mumtaz are new entrants in the ruling set-up and they have been given culture and social welfare departments.
Sardar Shah is an engineer who hailed from Umerkot. He was previously a union nazim before being elected for the first time as a member of the Sindh Assembly from Umerkot in 2013.
Ms Mumtaz was a former councillor from Karachi and she was elected on a seat reserved for women in 2013.
The four advisers are Maula Bux Chandio (information), Barrister Murtaza Wahab (law and anti-corruption), Senator Saeed Ghani (labour) and Asghar Junejo (mines and mineral).
Both Mr Chandio, a former senator, and Barrister Wahab retained their status as well as portfolio in the new cabinet.
Mr Wahab is a son of PPP’s ex-parliamentarian Fauzia Wahab.
Senator Ghani represents the second generation of his family that belonged to the PPP. His father Usman Ghani was a known trade unionist.
Mr Junejo was the adviser to the chief minister on labour in the previous cabinet. He was unseated by a court last year in a controversy on the election result on a Sanghar constituency. The court declared Jam Madad Ali of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional as the winner.
All special assistants are first-timers in the cabinet.
They are Khatumal Jeewan (minority affairs), Iram Khalid (women development), Ghulam Shah Jeelani (auqaf, zakat and religious affairs), and Sikander Shoro (information technology).
Mr Jeewan, a graduate of Dow Medical College, belongs to Hindu scheduled castes and was a senator and MNA previously.
Ms Khalid is a graduate from St. Joseph’s College and returned to the assembly on a women-reserved seat. She is daughter-in-law of PPP stalwart Prof N.D. Khan.
Mr Jeelani is a member of the Sindh Assembly from Dadu.
Mr Shoro is another party MPA from Kotri. He is a medicine graduate.