INTRODUCTION: Anti-government demonstrations continue in Pakistan, where the new Cabinet was announced on Wednesday (30 March).
INTRODUCTION: Anti-government demonstrations continue in Pakistan, where the new Cabinet was announced on Wednesday (30 March). The nine-party opposition Pakistan National Alliance has alleged that the recent general election was rigged. The election, on March 7, resulted in a landslide victory for the ruling Pakistan People's Party of Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. On the day the new Cabinet was announced, troops and police were reported to have opened fire on opposition demonstrators in Karachi. The authorities have ordered that those who indulge in anti-government violence should be shot on sight.
SYNOPSIS: The new, expanded Cabinet was sworn in on Wednesday (30 March) at the Prime Minister's residence in Rawalpindi. In a major government shake-up after his general election victory, Mr. Bhutto dropped five members of the outgoing Cabinet. Four of these dropped are accused of electoral malpractice. The new Cabinet has 22 members.
The ceremony took place beneath the silent gaze of Pakistan's founder, Muhammad Ali Jannah. Mr Bhutto has retained the defence portfolio but has handed over foreign affairs, appointing a Foreign Minister for the first time.
The swearing-in was conducted by Pakistan's President Fazal Elahi Chaudhry. The plum foreign Affairs job has gone to veteran bureaucrat Mr. Aziz Ahmed, who has been serving as Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs. The Prime Minister's cousin, Mumtaz Ali Bhutto, has been retained as Minister of Communications. Mr. Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, generally regarded as heir apparent to Mr Bhutto, has the key portfolios of finance, planning and provincial coordination. One eminent newcomer is Nur Hayat Noon, son of a former Prime Minister in the 1950s.
Mr. Yusuf Buch, said to be Mr. Bhutto's principal adviser on foreign affairs and foreign publicity, returned to the government with the rank of minister of state.