Pakistan’s first Sikh minister Ramesh Singh takes oath as member of Maryam's cabinet - GulfToday

Pakistan’s first Sikh minister Ramesh Singh takes oath as member of Maryam's cabinet


Maryam Nawaz and Ramesh Singh Arora. File

Tariq Butt, Correspondent

History has been made for the second time in 10 days as, after electing the first-ever woman chief minister, Punjab also witnessed the oath-taking ceremony of its first Sikh minister.

Ramesh Singh Arora, a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) legislator who returned to the provincial assembly for the third term, became the first provincial minister of post-partition Punjab to take oath as a member of Maryam Nawaz’s cabinet.

Hailing from the district of Narowal, Arora has been allotted the portfolio of minorities. Another member representing the minority community of Punjab, Khalil Tahir Sindhu, has also been inducted into the Punjab cabinet and has been assigned the portfolio of human rights. Arora was also the first-ever Sikh member of the Punjab Assembly, taking oath as a member in 2013.

Ramesh-Arora Ramesh Singh Arora (2nd L) and other ministers take oath at Governor's House.

It is stated that the PML-N stands out as the only party to bring the first Sikh member to the house and include him in the cabinet.

The Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) had also introduced a Sikh member to the Punjab Assembly in the form of Mahendra Pal Singh, but he could not return to the assembly in 2024 as the party was unable to secure its quota of reserved seats.

The current Punjab cabinet appears to be a blend of new and old faces, with figures like Bilal Akhbar Khan, Rana Sikandar, Zeeshan Rafique, and Kazim Pirzada taking oath as ministers for the first time, although most of them have served as a member for at least two or more terms.

Punjabcabinet-2024 18-member cabinet ministers sworn in at Governor's House.

Maryam Aurangzeb and Suhail Shaukat Butt are also experienced members, having served as members of the National Assembly in the past. Azma Bokhari, who has taken oath as a member for the fifth time, has been assigned the task of overseeing the Information Ministry of Punjab.

Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz appears to have preferred fresh faces over old guards as more than half of her eighteen-member cabinet comprises first-time ministers.

Maryam-CMoath Maryam Nawaz takes oath as chief minister of Punjab province. AFP

Meanwhile, in a somewhat surprising move, despite having a coalition partner in PML-Q, her cabinet did not feature any member from Istehkam Pakistan Party (IPP), even as strong rumours suggested the party's parliamentary secretary was in line for a ministerial position.


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