Muttahida, PML-Q likely to join cabinet

ISLAMABAD — Dr Asim Hussain who has been elected unopposed as senator is likely to be inducted as petroleum minister into federal cabinet in an impending reshuffle that may herald the Muttahida Qaumi (MQM) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) joining the government.

Published: Tue 19 Apr 2011, 12:13 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 7:51 PM

Informed sources said Senator Faisal Raza Abidi is also expected to be sworn in as a minister and may get information portfolio in place of Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan. Both Asim and Abidi have been close to the Presidency while Asim has worked as a communication link with the MQM.

Abidi has had adversarial relationship with the MQM and is living in the Presidency to advise President Asif Ali Zardari shifting from Karachi where some of his relatives and friends were killed. Informed sources said the president has worked out reconciliation between Abidi and the MQM leadership.

Meanwhile, the MQM has also agreed to join the federal cabinet which it had quit in early January this year. It may this time get three cabinet posts against two it had in the past.

The PML-Q, led by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, has also decided to accept the offer to join the federal cabinet and may get six slots.

Some heavyweights in the party like S.M. Zafar and Riaz Pirzada are expected to be among six ministers from the party who are expected to be inducted in the cabinet. S.M. Zafar is aspiring to be named as foreign minister, a post he held under Ayub Khan.

A group of PPP renegades who had quit the party in 2002 facilitating Gen. Pervez Musharraf to get his nominee Zafarullah Khan Jamali get elected by one vote, have been opposing President Zardari’s overtures to join the government.

Chaudhry Shujaat has reportedly softened his stance.

In a related development, the government has shifted Zafar Qureshi, deputy director-general of the Federal Investigation Agency to a higher post in an apparent bid to appease Shujaat. Qureshi had investigated and arrested Moonis Elahi, son of former chief minister Punjab Chaudhry Zahoor Elahi in a property scam.

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