As Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the new Prime Minister of Pakistan, formed the new cabinet, it was clear that the party has set its eyes on the 2018 general elections. Most of the members who were inducted in the new cabinet were allies of ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Even those with criminal cases were inducted, notwithstanding the recent ruling of the Pakistan Supreme Court that had disqualified Nawaz Sharif from the post of Prime Minister in July. One example is Ishaq Dar, who has been reappointed as Pakistan’s finance minister even though a criminal investigation has been ordered against him by the Pakistan Supreme Court. Another such appointment is that of Khawaja Asif, who is considered close to Nawaz Sharif. Asif was earlier handling the twin portfolios of defense and power and now he has been appointed as the foreign minister.
The total members in the cabinet have also been doubled, which explains that the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party wants to extend its influence to the largest possible areas in Pakistan. The newly appointed members were given oath today and everything was telecast live on television. Speaking about the formation of the new cabinet, noted Pakistani writer and analyst Zahid Hussain said, “It’s a massive cabinet. It shows that it’s all about the next election.” Abbasi himself is quite close to ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and political experts said that Sharif is likely to use Abbasi as a remote control to govern Pakistan and its various policies and initiatives.