Pakistan’s new federal cabinet took oath at a ceremony organised at the Presidency in Islamabad on Friday morning. The cabinet will work under the newly elected Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. The cabinet comprises 27 federal ministers and 16 state ministers. Even though most names in the list were the old ones with some reshuffled portfolios, one has caught some eyeballs. Khawaja Asif was appointed as the new Pakistan foreign minister making him the first leader to hold the post since 2013. Here is all you need to know about him:
1. Born on 9th August 1949, is a leader of Pakistan Muslim League and has previously served as the Minister of Defence and Minister of Water and Power in the third Sharif ministry from 2013 to 2017.
2. Asif joined politics in 1991 when he was included as a member of the Senate of Pakistan during the Sharif’s first ministry in 1991. Asif served in various roles and positions till 1997.
3. Between 1997 and 1999, Khawaja Asif served as the chairman of the Privatization Commission of Pakistan in the second Sharif’s ministry as a minister.
4. During the Gilani government, he was given cabinet portfolios of the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources with an additional charge as Minister of Sports in 2008 for a brief period.
5. He has been a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan since 1993 representing Sialkot and in 2013, Asif was appointed as the Minister for Water and Power and Minister for Defence of Pakistan. On Friday, he took oath as Pakistan’s first foreign minister since 2013.
Apart from Khawaja Asif, Khurram Dastgir Khan, who was labour minister during former premier Nawaz Sharif’s tenure took oath as the defence minister while Ahsan Iqbal, a Sharif loyalist, was appointed as the interior minister. President Mamnoon Hussain administered the oath to the ministers during a ceremony at the President House in Islamabad a week after Sharif was disqualified by the Supreme Court for dishonesty in declaring his assets.