After a span of 20 years, a Hindu politician, Darshan Lal, is set to take the role of a cabinet minister in Pakistan. The decision was announced on Friday as the new Prime Minister Shahaid Khaqan Abbasi formulated his cabinet. According to a government official cited by news agency Reuters, Abbasi has appointed 65-year old Lal to lead coordination between four Pakistan provinces.
Lal reportedly used to practice as a doctor in Mirpur Mathelo town in Ghotki district of Sindh province. Lal was elected to the national assembly for the second time in 2013 on a Pakistan Muslim League (N) ticket under the minority quota.
Meanwhile, Abbasi filled his cabinet with aides and allies of ousted PM Nawaz Sharif, aiming to boost the support for the ruling PML-N government just before the 2018 general elections. Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain administered oath to 47 cabinet ministers in a televised swearing-in ceremony. The cabinet comprises of 28 federal and 19 state ministers.
In spite of the on-going criminal investigation launched against him by Supreme Court, Ishaq Dar returned to take back his position as finance minister. Khawaja Asif, a close ally of Sharif, who had earlier controlled defense and power ministries, was appointed as the Foreign Minister.
According to analysts cited by Reuters, the size of the cabinet has been doubled keeping the upcoming generals in mind. “It’s a massive cabinet. It shows that it’s all about the next election,” Pakistani writer and analyst Zahid Hussain said.
(With inputs from Reuters)