Pakistan Gets First Hindu Minister in 20 Years: Darshan Lal Becomes Interprovincial Coordination Minister

For the first time in 20 years, a Hindu has been inducted in Pakistan Cabinet. The new Prime Minister of Pakistan Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Friday formed his cabinet, which also included the aides and the allies of his predecessor Nawaz Sharif.

As per reports, Darshan Lal (65), who is a practising doctor from Mirpur Mathelo town in Ghotki district of Sindh, would be responsible for heading the coordination between four Pakistani provinces. He was elected to the national assembly for the second time on PML-N ticket on a reserved seat for minorities in 2013.

Noteworthy, the cabinet members and their portfolios were finalised by Abbasi after six-hour-long consultations with his predecessor Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in the resort town of Murree on Thursday.

Khawaja Asif, earlier the defence minister in the Sharif government, has been appointed as the country’s first full-time foreign minister since 2013. The country remained without a foreign minister after 2013 when the PML-N came into power. The last foreign minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, was appointed by the Pakistan People’s Party, a PTI report stated.

Meanwhile, Ahsan Iqbal, former minister for planning, will take charge of the key interior ministry. Ishaq Dar will continue as finance minister whereas Pervez Malik will be the new minister for commerce in place of Khurram Dastagir Khan, who took charge of the defence ministry. Dar retained the finance ministry portfolio despite Supreme Court orders to register corruption cases against him. Notably, Marriyum Aurangzeb has retained the portfolio of State Information Minister.

Here is the list of New Pakistan Ministers and their portfolios

Khurram Dastagir: defence minister
Ahsan Iqbal: interior minister
Khawaja Asif: foreign minister
Ishaq Dar: finance minister
Saira Afzal Tarar: health minister
Marriyum Aurangzeb: information minister
Darshan Lal: interprovincial coordination minister
Balighur Rehman: religious affairs minister
Saad Rafique: railways minister
Lt Gen (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch: states and frontier regions (safron) minister
Two days ago, Prime Minister Abbasi, after meeting Nawaz Sharif, had delayed the formation of the Cabinet. Sharif has been staying in Murree ever since he vacated the official residence earlier this week following the order of the Supreme Court which disqualified him in connection with the Panama Papers scandal.