The federal cabinet members of the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf government comprise honest, intelligent and dedicated professionals. They include technocrats, legal expert of outstanding caliber and politicians of international stature. Majority of the cabinet members had shown wonderful performance in the government of President Musharraf, which was characterized by booming economy, low power and gas tariffs, high tax-to-GDP ratio, reasonable amount of public debt and its premature retirement, low budget deficit, low rate of unemployment and surge in oil and gas exploration activities.
Out of the 21 member cabinet of the Prime Minister Imran Khan, 12 members served in Musharraf government which was fairly a pro-poor people government as compared with feudal dominated PPP and brute mercantile class controlled PML-N governments. The hallmark of the two governments was rampant corruption, nepotism, one trillion plus extravagance of discretionary spending, bulging current account and budget deficits, shady international agreements, lack of transparency, dormant foreign policy and total rejection of merit.
A cursory look at the federal cabinet reveals the principle of right man for the right job. Senator Dr, Barrister Farogh Naseem, who has been given the important Law and Justice Minstry, is regarded one of the brilliant lawyers of the country. He is a man of few words and many actions. He holds an LLB degree from the University of Wales, LLM from London School of Economics and PhD in comparative constitutional law from the University of London. He will certainly draft and pilot the most important legislative bill through the parliament to strengthen the legal framework for curbing money laundering and terror financing, an urgent necessity for which the FATF has given a short and tough deadline.
Fawad Chaudhry, Minister for Information and Broadcasting is a suitable choice for the image building and policies projection of the government. He is well versed in media handling and its management and will be able to amicably rein in the media houses that were used to be fond of promoting Indian narrative versus Pakistan in Nawaz Sharif government.
Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad needs no detailed introduction. He was three times an excellent Information Minister and one time a successful Railway Minister. He has the capability to rejuvenate the outdated railway communication system of strategic importance that is left ragtag by his successor Khwaja Saad Rifiq.
Ms Zubaida Jalal, the new Minister for Defence Production held the portfolio of Education Ministry in Musharraf Government. She was the brain behind the policy formulation of education sector reforms at the grass root level which were later implemented by the previous PTI KP government to enhance the quality of primary and secondary education. The MMA government from 2003 to 2007 was not inclined to introduce these useful reforms.
Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi is the new Foreign Minster, a job he excellently performed for PPP government from 2008 t0 2011. He commands superb diplomatic skill. He is an articulate statesman, tough negotiator and skillful politician. The way he had presented Pakistan’s point of view on Afghanistan and other regional issues in joint press conferences with former US secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks of his vast knowledge and grip over proactive diplomacy. He will take out the foreign office from the state of inertia created by the last government.
The Key post of Finance Ministry is now held by a technocrat turned politician Asad Umar, a two times MNA. He holds MBA degree from the reputed Institute of Business Administration, Karachi. He worked with Exxcon Chemicals Pakistan before joining Eggro Polymer and Chemicals as CEO. He became the president and CEO of Engro in 2004. By virtue of his experience in corporate sector, Asad Umer is well placed to introduce the reforms to turnaround the economy. He has already disclosed to outline of roadmap for intended reforms.
Another best selection is Shafqat Mahmood, who has been assigned the Ministry Education and National Heritage. He has the expertise to improve the quality of higher education that degenerated after its devolution to the provinces as a result of 18th Amendment to the Constitution. Higher education has become very expensive and is no longer affordable to the highly talented students of poor and middle class families. The teaching and research environment in public sector universities has deteriorated to greater extent which need urgent improvement and subsequent standardization. The Prime Minister Imran Khan is keen to make hevy investment in human resource development to build knowledge economy. Hopefully, the education minister will perform this onerous job.
The most appreciable appointment is that of Dr. Ishrat Hussain, the PM, s Advisor on Institutional Reforms and Austerity. He is a technocrat of global fame. After completion of his PhD from Boston University, he enjoyed a long career with the World Bank, serving as its country economist for Liberia, Chief economist for the Asia Pacific and as head of Central Asia. He served as Governor State Bank of Pakistan in Musharraf regime. Dr. Ishrat Hussain is a strong proponent of fiscal discipline, prudent monetary and debt management. What he writes in the newspapers and research journals about economy and finance and policy reforms establishes his credential for the job he has assigned.