health
Saturday Apr 16 2022
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Who is going to be Pakistan's next health minister?

(L to R) MNA from Gujranwala Dr Nisar Ahmed Cheema, MNA Shaista Pervaiz Malik, and Senator Dr Musadik Malik. — Facebook/YouTube/File
(L to R) MNA from Gujranwala Dr Nisar Ahmed Cheema, MNA Shaista Pervaiz Malik, and Senator Dr Musadik Malik. — Facebook/YouTube/File

  • PML-N's coalition partners not interesed in health ministry.
  • Dr Musadik Malik, Shaista Pervaiz Malik likely choices, PML-N source says.
  • Dr Musadik Malik says federal cabinet to be finalised within next 24-48 hours.


ISLAMABAD: As coalition partners of the PML-N are not interested in the Federal Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHSR&C) due to its limited scope, it is believed that the party leadership may ask one of its MNAs or senators to head the federal health ministry, PML-N officials told The News on Friday.

“Federal Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHS,R&C) is not a very attractive ministry after devolution and during the previous tenure, it was run by two non-elected technocrats — initially by Dr Zafar Mirza and later by Dr Faisal Sultan as special assistant to prime minister (SAPM) on health," a senior political figure in the newly-formed coalition government said.

The senior politician told the publication that since PPP and any other coalition partners were not interested in heading the health ministry, the PML-N leadership may ask any of their MNAs or senators to head the national health ministry.

The political leader said the PML-N had people like Senator Dr Musadik Malik in its ranks, who is PhD in Health Policy, Economics, and Medical Decision Making and can be a good choice for the post. "The PML-N senator has also headed the ministry of water and power in the past."

Talking to The News, Dr Malik termed his appointment as federal health minister "rumours", saying PM Shahbaz Sharif-led government was a coalition government and the PML-N alone could not take unilateral decisions regarding any ministry in the Centre.

“I am not aware as to who would be heading the health ministry in the Centre in this collation government but you would know about federal ministers within next 24 to 48 hours,” he added.

Similarly, Dr Nisar Ahmed Cheema, an MNA from Gujranwala, who has served as former director-general of health Punjab can also be a good choice as national health minister, the politician said.

The politician added that Dr Cheema has vast experience in dealing with health issues and he has very good relations with the international health agencies — including the WHO, UNICEF, as well as donors agencies.

He maintained that Dr Cheema is the brother of former inspector-general of police Zulfiqar Cheema, while he also has strong connections in the judiciary and the military.

He is known as a competent and honest health professional, he added.

Wife of late PML-N MNA Pervaiz Malik, Shaista Pervaiz Malik — who recently got elected as MNA — could be another strong candidate for the ministry of national health services, he said.

MNA Khalid Magsi from Balochistan could be another candidate for the post of federal health minister or state minister for health, the official said.