Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Wednesday took oath as a federal minister, after having announced a day earlier that he will likely be appointed the new foreign minister.
The oath of office was administered by President Arif Alvi in the presence of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, other members of the federal cabinet, and senior politicians. Bhutto-Zardari would now serve as the new foreign minister with Hina Rabbani Khar as the minister of state for foreign affairs.
Following the formation of the new coalition government after the ouster of Imran Khan as prime minister through a vote of no-confidence, there has been a flurry of rumors that the PPP chairman would assume charge of the foreign minister in the cabinet of Prime Minister Sharif. However, he could not take oath with the rest of the federal cabinet, as he had traveled to London, where he met Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leader Nawaz Sharif.
While there has been no official confirmation on Bhutto-Zardari’s portfolio, he has hinted that it would be the foreign ministry, while his sister has also congratulated him on taking oath as the new foreign minister in a posting on Twitter.
On Tuesday, the PPP chairman told a press conference that he had decided to join the coalition government’s federal government after consultations with his party’s Central Executive Committee. He regretted that ousted prime minister Imran Khan’s “foreign conspiracy” narrative had hurt Pakistan’s image on international forums, adding that the PTI chairman’s confusion was apparent in how he kept shifting his targets—from the U.S. to the judiciary to the Election Commission of Pakistan.
Slamming Khan for violating the Constitution, Bhutto-Zardari alleged that former deputy speaker Qasim Suri and President Arif Alvi had also been involved in the “conspiracy” to damage the country’s laws and institutions. He said that the events that had transpired on the night of the vote of no-confidence against Khan should be investigated.
“Imran Khan’s politics are based on lies and propaganda. He is running a campaign that boils down to asking why he was not ‘saved.’ He is targeting every institution that did not ‘save’ him,” he said, adding that the ousted premier’s politics seemed aimed at making all of Pakistan’s institutions “controversial.” He urged all institutions to keep working within their constitutional parameters.
To a question on his meeting with PMLN leader Nawaz Sharif, the PPP chairman said that they had discussed a new “Charter of Democracy” and not the makeup of the federal cabinet, as had been reported by some sections of the press.