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Fewer women likely in Sindh cabinet

By Rabia Ali

Karachi: One of the possible aspects of the new Sindh cabinet is that there will be a negligible number of women, The News has learnt.

Sources told The News that the possible reshuffling of ministers was expected to reduce the number of women ministers in the new provincial cabinet as ministries were to be merged into one another and induction of new faces was to be expected.

At present, there are six women ministers amongst the 46 in the Sindh cabinet.

The ministers and their portfolios are Sassui Palejo, Minister for Culture and Tourism, Shazia Marri, Minister for Electric Power, Oil and Gas, Nargis N D Khan for Social Welfare, Nadia Gabol, Minister for Human Rights and Tauqeer Fatima Bhutto for Women Development.

Human Rights Minister, Nadia Gabol, belongs to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement while the rest represent the Pakistan People’s Party.

Amongst the ministries is the newly-formed electric power, oil and gas headed by Marri, which is expected to be merged with the department of coal and energy.

The new department was created with the devolution of the ministries after the 18th Amendment recognized the rights of natural resources between the other provinces and Sindh.

Meanwhile, fearing isolation from the party members and disciplinary action, women ministers told The News that they were content with whatever the party decided and would accept it whole-heartedly.

Sindh Minister for Women Development, Tauqeer Fatima Bhutto, said that the women ministers’ quota would be decided under the 18th Amendment.

“Whatever the law says, the decision would be taken under that, and I am sure that the decision would be a good one. Under the 18th Amendment, we want to bring an effective system into place, and for that whatever is decided, whether the number of women ministers is reduced, we would happily accept the decision.”

Bhutto said that she was not aware as yet of any decision taken in this regard, but whatever happened, they would not argue.

Minister for Social Development, Nargis N D Khan, said that due to the rightsizing under the 18th Amendment, the number of women and men legislators would be reduced.

But she refrained from commenting on how many women would be inducted in the new cabinet.

“I cannot say how many women will be there, but the quota would be under the 18th Amendment,” she said.

Meanwhile, sources said that the formation of the new cabinet had been delayed as the political scenario was overshadowed by other issues, such as the Raymond David case, and the former foreign minister distancing himself from the government stance.

Source: The News

Date:2/19/2011

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