Wednesday May 22, 2013
New Pakistani Prime Minister ElectedPervaiz Khokhar Salem-News.com
Raja Pervaiz Ashraf was administered oath as the 23rd prime minister of the country at the Presidency on Friday.
(FAISALABAD, Pakistan) - Raja Pervez Ashraf, former minister for water and power, has been elected as the new Prime Minister of Pakistan replacing Yousaf Raza Gilani, who was declared ineligible to hold office by the Supreme Court. Mr Ashraf is the Pakistan Peoples Party's second choice to replace Mr Gilani, because the first candidate, Makhdoom Shahabuddin, had to stand down because the country's Anti Narcotics Force sought a warrant for his arrest.
Mr Ashraf may not have the law after him, but he is not without controversy. He has been accused of corruption and is also being held responsible for Pakistan's power crisis arising out of an extreme shortage of electricity. While Mr Zardari may have got his loyalist as the new prime minister, there is no saying how long Mr Ashraf will last. It is almost certain that the Pakistan Supreme Court will ask him now to request that a Swiss court reopen a corruption probe against President Zardari, relating to business deals in the 1990s, this is what Mr Gilani refused to do and which led to his sacking.
In that event, the only option left before Mr Zardari will be to call for fresh elections. Given the poor record of the PPP ministry, this is not likely to be a palatable step. But elections are due in any case and Mr Zardari's hand could now be forced by the judiciary, with the army applying its own pressure somewhat more discreetly. For his part, Mr Ashraf has sought to behave as though this is a routine change. Not only has he retained most of the prominent ministers of the Gilani cabinet, but also signaled that he will continue the latter's policy of seeking better ties with India. Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, a member of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), was administered oath as the 23rd prime minister of the country at the Presidency on Friday. President Asif Ali Zardari administered the oath at a special ceremony.
It was attended by Senate Chairman Nayyer Hussain Bokhari, National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza, former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, Punjab Governor Sardar Latif Khan Khosa, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Barrister Syed Masood Kausar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti, AJK President Sardar Yaqoob Khan, AJK Prime Minister Abdul Majid Chaudhry, Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Mehdi Shah, senators, MNAs, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, services chiefs, diplomats, political leadership and a large number of party workers.
President Zardari also administered oath to 38 members of the federal cabinet, comprising 27 federal ministers and 11 ministers of state, at the Presidency. Those who took oath as federal minister included, Makhdoom Amin Faheem, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Nazar Muhammad Gondal, Haji Khuda Buksh Rajar, Dr Farooq Sattar, Senator Maula Buksh Chandio, Mian Manzoor Wattoo, Mir Changez Khan Jamali, Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah, Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, and Senator Babar Khan Ghauri.
Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, Mir Israrullah Zehri, Senator Farooq H Naek, Dr Arbab Alamgir Khan, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi (senior minister), Makhdoom Shahabuddin, Syed Naveed Qamar, Farzana Raja, Eng Shaukatullah, Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Rana Mohammad Farooq Saeed Khan, Sameena Khalid Gurki, Dr Firdaus Ashiq Awan, Hina Rabbani Khar and Sardar Muhammad Omar Gorgeig.
Those who took oath as ministers of state are: Sardar Saleem Haider Khan, Muazzam Ali Jatoi, Malik Azmat Khan, Syed Samsam Ali Bukhari, Tasneem Ahmed Qureshi, Dr Nadeem Ahsan, Nawabzada Malik Amaad Khan, Abbas Khan Afridi, Chaudhry Imtiaz Safdar Warraich, Dost Muhammad Mazari and Raheela Baloch. Speaking at the oath-taking ceremony, Zardari said that the ultimate court was the court of the people and the ultimate verdict was pronounced by the history. He said that the people and the history would give their verdict sooner rather than later.
Reverend Pervaiz Khokhar is a contributing writer in Asia who covers issues pertaining to Christianity in countries that fail to tolerate religious freedom. Perfaiz is the Chairman of The Preaching Society & Social Welfare Services, Mohallah Rasool Pura Street No 7 in Jhumra City, Faisalabad, Pakistan.
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