The initial outcome of the elections produced a less than decisive outcome for PTI- despite emerging as the most favored party- it still fell short on the minimum benchmark to form its governments in Center. Key party members- especially Jehangir Tareen- were depicted in social media memes for concentrated efforts in trying to tilt independent candidates and smaller parties in favor of PTI.
Many remain concerned that though this influx of independents has enabled PTI to form its government- but Khan must now deal with many questionable candidates, whose loyalties may waver post-prime minister ballot. However, apart from this faction of electables- an important aspect of these elections has been the rise of ‘underdogs’ and well-educated candidates. Members such as Shehryar Khan Afridi and Ibrahim Khan are much touted for their ability to defeat heavyweights from other major parties.
After ascending to premiership, Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved a 21-member federal cabinet made up of 16 ministers and five advisers: Mohammad Farogh Naseem will serve as the Minister of Law and Justice, Pervez Khattak will serve as the Minister of Defence, Shah Mehmood Qureshi will serve as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Asad Umar will serve as the Minister of Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Ministry. The chief of Awami Muslim League will serve as the Minister for Railways, Zubaida Jalal will serve as the Minister of Defence Production, Fawad Chaudhry will serve as the Minister of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, GDA’s Fahmida Mirza will serve as the Minister of Inter Provincial Coordination, MQM-P convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui will serve as the Minister of Information Technology and Telecommunication, Shireen Mazari will serve as the Minister of Human Rights, Shafqat Mahmood will serve as the Minister of Federal Education and Heritage, Aamir Mehmood Kiyani will serve as the Minister of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, PML-Q’s Chaudhry Tariq Bashir Cheema will serve as the Minister of State and Frontier Region, Noor-ul-Haq Qadri will serve as the Minister of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, Ghulam Sarwar Khan will serve as the Minister of Petroleum Division, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar will serve as Minister for Water Resources, Mohammad Shehzad Arbab has been appointed as adviser to PM for establishment portfolio, Abdul Razzaq Dawood will be adviser to PM on Commerce, Textile, Industry and Production and Investment, Dr Ishrat Husain will serve as the adviser to PM on Institutional Reforms and Austerity, Amin Aslam will serve as the adviser to PM on Climate Change, Zaheer-ud-din Babar Awan will serve as adviser to prime minister on parliamentary affairs.
PTI allies were handed over six of 16 ministries: MQM-P was given two ministries and one each to PMl-Q, AML, GDA and BAP.
Usman Ahmed Khan Buzdar was elected as chief minister of Punjab by grabbing 186 votes while PML-N’s Hamza Shehbaz Sharif secured 159 votes. PTI’s nomination of Sardar Usman Buzdar as Punjab chief minister has raised many eyebrows when reports surfaced that Buzdar was nominated in a case of six people’s murder 18 years ago. The case was settled after he paid the victim’s family blood money.
Chaudry Pervaiz Elahi was chosen as speaker for the Punjab Assembly. Siraj Durrani was elected as speaker of the Sindh Assembly and Rehana Leghair as Deputy Speaker and Murad Ali Shah was sworn in as the CM Sindh. Mushtaq Ghani was elected Speaker of the KP assembly and Mahmood Khan was sworn in as CM of KP. Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo was elected Speaker Balochistan Assembly, Sardar Babar Musa Khel was elected as the Deputy Speaker of the Provincial Assembly. Mir Jam Kamal was sworn in as CM Balochistan.
The government for now appears eager to start working. Sources have said that Imran Khan has decided to change the heads of Federal Board of Revenue, NEPRA, Railways, Pakistan International Airlines and a few other institutions. The PTI has decided to appoint people with expertise in the relevant department within first 100 days of the government. There are speculations that Imran Khan might keep the Interior Ministry under his charge- It also needs to be seen how the PTI government would carry forward the civil military ties and manage the broader scopes of internal security.
The government has also formally launched its austerity policy and took a couple of decisions ranging from withdrawal of state-funded overseas medical facility to ministers to auction of bulletproof and other luxurious vehicles of PM House and restriction on unnecessary foreign tours of the PM, ministers and bureaucrats.
Transforming governance, strengthening federation, revitalising economic growth, revolutionising social services, ensuring national security and developing the agriculture sector are among the goals PTI hopes to achieve in its first 100 days. PTI has certainly generated a wave of optimistic in the hearts of people. However, owing to these high expectations- PTI is likely to remain under high public scrutiny and will be expected to assuage economic pressures, uplift local socio-economic conditions and especially cater to the development of the human capital by correctly harnessing Pakistan’s youth bulge.