Gauhar Zahid Malik
Political sources have confirmed that former Interior Minister Choudhary Nisar Ali has made it clear that he would not be part of Interim Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s next cabinet.
However, it was not clear that if Choudhary Nisar would also refuse to join the next cabinet to be formed once another Prime Minister is elected by the mid-September 2017.
Former Minister Nawaz Sharif has nominated his brother current Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif as the next prime minister who would also continue until the next elections in early June 2018.
Shahbaz Sharif will resign from the CM post and will be re-elected from PML-N’s confirmed constituency as the Member of National Assembly to pave the constitutional way before becoming a candidate as next prime minister. The whole process of bye-election in NA-120 and election of a next Chief Minister of Punjab is due to take several weeks and by that time Interim-PM Khaqan Abbasi would run the government. However, even for a short period he has to form his cabinet and especially a new Interior Minister who can effectively cope with the rising threats from internal extremists and foreign-back terrorists.
The next Interim-Cabinet would also under severe pressures to appoint a full-time foreign minister even if it had to promote current Punjab Chief Advisor to the PM on Foreign Affairs. Although Sartaj Aziz is still running the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on ad hoc basis the Foreign Secretary is constitutionally in-charge after the dissolution of ex-PM Nawaz Sharif’s cabinet.
Senior bureaucrats had long been urging the former government to appoint a full-time FM and believe that one reason for the failure of country’s foreign policy was due to the absence of a full-time foreign minister during last four and a half year. India and Afghanistan effectively took the undue advantage of the gap in the foreign policy of Pakistan and tried to isolate the country regionally and internationally.
According to inside sources that former PM was still not in favour or appointing a full-time foreign minister and wanted to keep a tight control over international relations but there were rising voices within the PML-N in recent days that one important reason for failure of Pakistan’s foreign relations was due to non-appointment of a full-time foreign minister by a country which is a nuclear power and facing intense pressures internally and externally from terrorists.
The foreign policy advisors within the ministry also believed that in the light of the formation of Indo-U.S. alliance and designs to sabotage CPEC, Pakistan must pursue a pro-active foreign policy with a dashing personality who could effectively counter the rivals that have managed to undermine Pakistan’s peaceful ambitions in foreign policy.