New Pakistan Cabinet Shows Links to Zia

From Times Wire Services

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s new Cabinet brings back nearly a dozen veteran politicians with links to the late military dictator Gen. Zia ul-Haq.

The 18-member Cabinet was sworn in Friday night by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan. The ministry portfolios were announced Saturday.

Defense was the only portfolio that was not assigned. But analysts say Sharif probably will keep it, following the tradition of his predecessors.


The new Cabinet is dominated by veterans of the Muslim League, the largest of 18 parties in the right-wing Islamic Democratic Alliance that swept into power in the Oct. 24 parliamentary elections.

Sharif, a 41-year-old industrialist who launched his political career during Zia’s rule, was sworn in as prime minister Wednesday to head the country’s fifth civilian government in 43 years.

His Cabinet is one of the smallest, especially compared to the record 58-member Cabinet of his predecessor, ousted Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Two of the most important portfolios will remain with veteran politicians who have links to the Zia era. They were also members of the caretaker government handpicked by the president after he dismissed Bhutto’s 20-month-old government on Aug. 6 on charges of corruption and mismanagement.

Sahabzada Yaqub Khan will remain foreign minister, Sartaj Aziz will stay as finance minister and Chaudry Shujaat Hussain was appointed minister for Industries and the Interior.