Pakistan appoints new caretaker cabinet
Pakistan swore in a caretaker cabinet under interim Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar in Islamabad yesterday, with fresh elections due to be held in November or later.
The government's top priority is economic stabilisation, with the $350 billion economy on a narrow recovery path after getting a last minute $3 billion bailout deal with the IMF, averting a sovereign debt default.
Kakar himself was sworn in on Monday after President Arif Alvi dissolved parliament last week on the advice of outgoing prime minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Kakar yesterday appointed the new cabinet, which was later sworn in by Alvi.
In the interim cabinet, former central bank chief Shamshad Akhtar was appointed finance minister, and Pakistan's former ambassador to the United States, Jalil Abbas Jilani, was named foreign minister, the new information minister Murtaza Solangi said.
Other names in the cabinet include former provincial minister Sarfaraz Bugti as interior minister and Mishaal Malik, the wife of jailed Kashmiri Leader Yaseen Malik, as Minister for Human Rights.
Under Pakistan's constitution, a neutral caretaker government will oversee elections that must be held within 90 days of the dissolution of parliament's lower house, which in this case means early November.
However, the ballot may be delayed as the Election Commission has to draw new boundaries for hundreds of federal and provincial constituencies. Later yesterday, the election commission said new constituencies would be finalised by December 14, state television reported.