News / Asia

    New Pakistani Cabinet Sworn In

    Newly elected Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif (L) arrives at the Prime Minister''s house to review guards of honor in Islamabad, June 5, 2013.
    Newly elected Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif (L) arrives at the Prime Minister''s house to review guards of honor in Islamabad, June 5, 2013.
    Ayaz Gul

    Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday introduced a 25-member federal cabinet to deal with what analysts say is a sinking national economy, energy crisis and the threat of militancy facing the nuclear-armed country.


    The federal ministers, including two women, were sworn in by President Asif Ali Zardari at a ceremony in the presidential palace where Prime Minister Sharif and the Pakistani military leadership were also present.


    The new cabinet is made up of senior leaders of Mr. Sharif’s ruling Pakistan Muslim League-N party and most are his close aides with experience in dealing with economic, energy and other issues facing ordinary Pakistanis.


    They include former finance minister Isaq Dar, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Ahsan Iqbal, Khawaja Asif and Pervez Rasheed.


    Analysts and federal ministers acknowledge the national economy has never been in such a bad shape since the inception of Pakistan and tackling the economy will be the most difficult of all the challenges.


    Federal Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi sounded upbeat after taking the oath of office.

    He said the new government knows that time is short but it is determined to provide relief to ordinary Pakistanis by fixing problems like nation-wide power outages, unemployment and inflation.


    "The economic challenges facing the country are quite serious but we feel that we have the expertise, the ability and the experience to deal with these issues. And we are very hopeful that you will see a change not in a matter of years but in a matter of months and weeks," Abbasi said.


    Economists like Ashfaque Hasan Khan of the NUST Business School in Islamabad say that the Sharif government will need to make bold decisions and introduce long-awaited reforms to broaden the tax base and revive bleeding public enterprises. He says that without taking these measures, Pakistan’s attempts to seek financial help from foreign donors will face difficulties.


    "Pakistan will have to follow massive tax and expenditure reforms along with growth (-related) critical reforms in the economy. Unless and until we do this the international community will not come to help or assist Pakistan," Khan said.


    Analysts believe that the economic turnaround is essential to ensure political stability in Pakistan, a key partner in the U.S.-led war against terrorism.


    Prime Minister Sharif’s party officials, without elaborating, have stated that for the time being, he is expected to keep the foreign ministry portfolio for himself.


    The victory in May 11 parliamentary polls enabled the 63-year-old politician to become Pakistan’s chief executive for an unprecedented third term. In his acceptance speech before the parliament Wednesday, Mr. Sharif promised to address the nation soon to present his plans aimed at dealing with the nation’s economic and energy challenges.


    He has also pledged to devise a national policy with the help of allied and opposition parties to try to seek an end to the Taliban-led militancy plaguing northwestern regions of Pakistan.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    South Pole Diary: In Round-the-clock Darkness, Radiant Moon Shines Like the Sun

    You hear more and see more when the moon first comes out; it’s your senses in overdrive, tuning into a new world.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora