Hindu in Pak govt, first in 20 years

Islamabad: Creatig a history of sorts, a Hindu has also been included in the newly formed cabinet of Pakistan's Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi following the charges levelled against Nawaz Sharif which led to his stepping down.  

The "reshuffle" was mainly focused at strengthening support for the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) ahead of the general elections in mid-2018, with President Mamnoon Hussain administering the oath of office to 47-member cabinet that included 28 federal and 19 state ministers in a televised ceremony at his official residence.

The Hindu Darshan Lal is slated to head coordination between four Pakistani provinces, according to a government official. Lal, 65, is a practising doctor from Mirpur Mathelo town in Ghotki district of Sindh. In 2013, he was elected to the national assembly for the second time on PML-N ticket on a reserved seat for minorities. Khawaja Muhammad Asif, minister for defence and power in previous cabinet, was appointed the country's new foreign minister. Pakistan was without a foreign minister since Sharif became PM in 2013. The last foreign minister was Hina Rabbani Khar.

Decision has not been taken so far on whether Abbasi will remain the PM till the 2018 elections or step down after Shahbaz becomes eligible to take over after winning a by-election, as previously decided.

Agencies