Darshan Lal becomes first Hindu minister of Pakistan in over two decades

Posted August 07, 2017

According to a government official cited by news agency Reuters, Abbasi has appointed 65-year old Lal to lead coordination between four Pakistan provinces.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi's 43-member cabinet was sworn in on August 4, the cabinet is a mix of old and new faces, however none of them is a political amateur.

This is Lal's second stint in the National Assembly, Pakistan's Lower House, after being elected in 2013 on a PML-N ticket under reservation for minorities.

Meanwhile, Abbasi filled his cabinet with aides and allies of ousted PM Nawaz Sharif, aiming to boost the support for the ruling PML-N government just before the 2018 general elections.

In his message to the nation on the 45th Foundation Day of the Senate of Pakistan being observed on the day, the prime minister extended his heartiest felicitations to the people of Pakistan. The last foreign minister was Hina Rabbani Khar. Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain administered oath to 47 cabinet ministers in a televised swearing-in ceremony. He might also step down after Shahbaz becomes eligible to take over.

Ishaq Dar, a powerful finance minister, returned in the same role, despite a criminal investigation ordered against him by the Pakistan's supreme court. Abbasi, a staunch Nawaz ally, reportedly finalised the names and portfolios of the cabinet ministers after close consultation with the leader-in-exile and his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif, who is the Punjab province chief minister.