Pak Cabinet to be expanded
Pakistan's ruling PPP has decided to go ahead with a move to expand Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani's council of ministers after failing to persuade its coalition partner PML-N to rejoin the Cabinet.
Gilani and PPP Chairman Asif Ali Zardari gave final shape to a proposal to expand the Cabinet and reshuffle some portfolios during their meeting in Dubai on Thursday. Gilani said the number of ministers will be increased to improve "coverage" in areas of public importance.
The Cabinet will be expanded after consulting the PPP's coalition partners and every ally will get its due share according to its strength in parliament, Gilani said.
PPP sources said eight new ministers and 12 ministers of state are likely to be inducted during the forthcoming expansion of the Cabinet. Two of the ministers would be from Awami National Party and one from Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, while the rest would be from PPP, they said.
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement will not be included in the Cabinet due to the PML-N's reservations over the party, the sources said. The MQM is part of the PPP-led coalition in Sindh province.
Former premier Nawaz Sharif's PML-N party withdrew its nine ministers from the cabinet in May after the PPP-led government failed to meet two self-imposed deadlines for reinstating judges sacked by President Pervez Musharraf during last year's emergency.
The PML-N has spurned several offers from the PPP to rejoin the cabinet, saying it would do so only if the judges are restored through a parliamentary resolution and an executive order issued by the Prime Minister. The PPP has, however, linked the reinstatement of the judges to a Constitutional reforms package.