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No surprises as Pakistan’s new PM names Cabinet

ISLAMABAD (AFP) – Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif sprang no big surprises in naming his new Cabinet yesterday, doling out key portfolios to officials from the two parties that combined to oust Imran Khan after weeks of political crisis.

The Cabinet is drawn mostly from Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), two usually-feuding dynastic groups who combined to force a no-confidence vote that ousted Khan on April 10.

How long the government lasts remains to be seen, however, as most of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers have quit Parliament and the former cricketer turned politician has taken his fight to the streets to press for an early election – which must be held by October next year.

“It will be an uphill task for the Prime Minister to pull them together in one direction because some parties have local and regional interests, and some have national interests,” analyst Hasan Askari told AFP.

“If they handle economic issues, other problems will settle down – but if the situation worsens, everyone will blame the PML-N, which is in majority.”

Sharif, brother of three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, did not name a foreign minister but that role is expected to go to the scion of another political family, 33-year-old Bilawal Zardari Bhutto.

The PPP’s Bhutto is the son of former president Asif Ali Zardari and assassinated ex-premier Benazir Bhutto, as well as the grandson of another prime minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was executed in 1979.

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