Raja Pervez Ashraf Is The New Prime Minister
Raja Pervez Ashraf was elected the country's 25th Prime Minister last week after securing 211 votes. He had originally been intended to be a mere covering candidate for Makhdoom Shahabuddin but his fortunes turned when Makhdoom had to bow out due to the registration of a criminal case against him by the Anti Narcotics Force (ANF).
Soon after his election as the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Raja Pervez Ashraf pledged to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor Yousuf Raza Gilani, who was disqualified by the Supreme Court, and promised to hold free, fair and transparent elections.
"I pay rich tribute to my predecessor, who upheld the Constitution despite all difficulties and odds. I salute him for setting new democratic traditions," the newly-elected prime minister said in his maiden speech. He is the fourth Prime Minister of the PPP.
He further said that at this crucial stage, it was imperative for all democratic forces to come forward and play their due role for strengthening democracy. He said his government would ensure free, fair and transparent elections acceptable to the people of the country. He called upon the opposition parties to come forward to play their due role for ensuring neutral elections. "We do not want to have politics of confrontation and will continue the politics of reconciliation in line with the vision of Benazir Bhutto. We don't want the politics of confrontation nor do we have any passion for it," he added.
The newly-elected Prime Minister said extremism and terrorism had caused an irreparable loss to Islam and Pakistan, appealing to all extremists groups to lay down their arms and enter the national stream. He said the present government, during its four-year-long tenure, took historical decisions for the uplift of masses and put the country on the path of development.
Raja Pervez said efforts would be made to reduce unemployment and end the energy crisis in the country.
"We will expand the agriculture sector along with the development of industrial sector. The solution to the problems of Balochistan will be my first priority. We will contact the Baloch people and will have a dialogue with the Baloch leadership to bring prosperity and development in the province."
PM, 27 Federal, 11 Ministers Of State Take Oath
President Asif Ali Zardari administered oath to the 38-member federal cabinet comprising 27 federal ministers and 11 ministers of state at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.
Those who took oath as Federal Ministers included: Makhdoom Amin Faheem, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Dr Mohammad Farooq Sattar, Senator Babar Khan Ghauri, Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, Qamar Zaman and other ministers.