ISLAMABAD/Lahore, 8 JUNE: With Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif deciding to retain Pakistan’s foreign affairs portfolio, former minister Sartaj Aziz will play a crucial role as his advisor in charting a way forward on issues like relations with India and the USA.
The Cabinet Division has notified the appointment of the 84-year-old Mr Aziz as advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs. Mr Aziz served as both finance and foreign minister in Mr Sharif’s last term as Premier in the late 1990s. Over the past few weeks, Mr Aziz has been advising Mr Sharif on foreign policy issues and participating in meetings with foreign envoys and visiting leaders.
Sources in the PML-N said Mr Aziz will play a major role in shaping the new government’s policy for relations with India and the USA and for the endgame in neighbouring Afghanistan.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan will be the new government’s point man for dealing with law and order problems and a Taliban insurgency, while Power Minister Khwaja Asif has been entrusted the tasking of addressing a crippling energy crisis. Mr Khan was allocated the interior ministry hours after 25 members of Mr Sharif’s council of ministers were sworn in yesterday. Mr Asif has been allocated the crucial water and power portfolio at a time when cities and towns across Pakistan are coping with power cuts of up to 20 hours a day. According to a notification issued by the Cabinet Division, Zahid Hamid was allocated the law and justice portfolio, Mr Shahid Khaqan Abbasi petroleum and natural resources, Mr Abdul Qadir Baloch states and frontier regions, Mr Ishaq Dar finance and revenue, Khwaja Saad Rafiq railways, Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi industries and production, Mr Birjees Tahir Kashmir and Gilgit affairs, Mr Pervez Rashid information and broadcasting, Mr Kamran Michael ports and shipping and Mr Sadaruddin Rashidi overseas Pakistanis affairs.
Pak PM to visit Afghanistan
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will soon visit Afghanistan for talks with President Hamid Karzai aimed at pushing forward the troubled peace process ahead of the withdrawal of US and foreign forces next year. PML-N leader Tariq Azeem confirmed Sharif would visit Kabul this month but said no dates had been fixed as yet.
US envoy summoned over drone strike
On the instructions of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, US Charge d’ Affaires was summoned today by Pakistan’s Foreign Office to lodge protest against a drone strike carried out in the restive tribal belt killing nine people. pti