Darshan Lal becomes first Hindu minister of Pakistan in over two decades

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. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader won a National Assembly election in 2013 for the second time in a seat reserved for minorities.

Lal reportedly used to practice as a doctor in Mirpur Mathelo town in Ghotki district of Sindh province.

Another staunch Sharif ally, Khawaja Asif, is to be Foreign Minister after having simultaneously run the ministries of defence and power, Reuters reported. Hina Rabbani Khar was the last foreign minister.

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.

The oath-taking ceremony of office to 47-member cabinet including 28 federal and 19 state ministers has been scheduled at President Mamnoon Hussain's official residence later.

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"It's a massive cabinet", said Pakistani writer and analyst Zahid Hussain.

PML-N leadership is unsure about Shahbaz's resignation as his departure from Punjab could weaken the party's grip over the country's most powerful and populated province.

Till now, nothing has been said about whether Abbasi will remain the PM till the 2018 elections.

To shore up the voter base in Punjab, Abbasi has added five politicians from prominent families that command huge vote banks in the south of the region, seen as pivotal to the next poll.

Nawaz Sharif resigned last week after the Supreme Court disqualified him for not declaring a source of income he denies receiving.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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