Islamabad: The majority of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s federal cabinet, after taking oath as ministers and advisers, have assumed charge of their respective ministries. The first directions they gave to their ministries’ staff and officers were on adopting austerity measures and ensuring merit at all levels.

Later, at press conferences, they rolled out an ambitious programme of development, related to their ministries, sections or departments. They were also briefed by the top officers of their ministries, secretaries and other officers regarding the current situation, fiscal position and ongoing projects.

Those who took charge of their offices included Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed; Human Rights, Dr Shireen Mazari; National Health Services, Aamir Mehmood Kiyani; Information & Broadcasting, Fawad Chaudhry; Federal Education & Professional Training, Shafqat Mehmood; Petroleum, Ghulam Sarwar Khan; Inter-Provincial Coordination, Dr Fahmida Mirza; Defence Production, Zubaida Jalal Khan; IT, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui; Law & Justice, Dr Farogh Naseem; Adviser to PM on Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam, Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs, Dr Babar Awan; and others.

Qureshi, after attending a briefing by Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua, held a brief media talk at the Foreign Office and outlined the PTI-government’s foreign policy. In a nutshell, he said Pakistan wanted good relations with all neighbouring states including India.

On the US, he said Pakistan considered its relations with US important but at the same time, it would be based on mutual trust and respect.

Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed reached the National Press Club after attending the briefing by the Railway Ministry’s officers and expressed his resolve to initiate efficient train services, overcome losses, stop political interference and transform Pakistan Railways into an innovative and corruption-free organisation.

Aamir Kiyani said that he and his team would make every endeavour to fulfil Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision of improving the health sector, a top priority of the new government.

Malik Amin Aslam also pledged to prevent Pakistan’s climate vulnerability by increasing the country’s tree cover, water conservation and storage, and boosting climate-resilient food security measures.

Fawad Chaudhry made it clear that accountability would start from the top at his ministry.