Bhutto names Cabinet, holds first meeting


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto announced her Cabinet Sunday, appointing members of the previous government as chief advisers on foreign and economic policy but also summoning back to service some associates of her executed father.

The new 23-member administration discussed the Pakistani economy and a wide-ranging program Bhutto announced Saturday to secure the release of hundreds of political prisoners and stay the sentences of all prisoners on death row.


President Ghulam Ishaq Khan nominated Bhutto, 35, as prime minister on Thursday, more than two weeks after her Pakistan People's Party emerged from Pakistan's first democratic election since 1977 with the largest bloc of National Assembly seats.

Bhutto's appointment as prime minister makes her the first woman leader of a Moslem nation and the youngest prime minister in the history of Pakistani, which has been under military rule for more than two-thirds of its 41 years as an independent country.

Most prominent among Bhutto's Cabinet postings was Sahabzada Yaqub Khan, whom she retained as foreign minister.

Khan, a former ambassador to Washington and Paris, served as foreign minister for several years under the late President Mohammad Zia ul-Haq.

Khan played an important role in the negotiations that led to the Geneva accords under which Moscow is withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan.


Bhutto has promised to stay the current course in foreign policy, most notably in Afghanistan, where Pakistan has provided bases for and funneled mainly U.S. arms to Moslem rebels fighting the Soviet-backed communist central government since 1979.

Bhutto also retained V.A. Jaffrey in her Cabinet, who in his post as adviser to the prime minister on finance, planning and economic affairs will be the government's chief financial policy maker. Jaffrey ran the central bank under Zia and has served as minister of state under Ishaq Khan.

Zia died Aug. 17 in a mysterious plane crash after ruling the country for 11 years, eight as head of a military government.

The former army chief of staff seized power in a 1977 coup that overthrew Bhutto's father, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was hanged two years later for the alleged murder of a political foe despite international appeals for clemency.

Before its meeting Sunday, the new Cabinet said prayers for the executed leader.

Benazir Bhutto named as attorney general Yahya Bakhtiar, who served in the same post under her father and represented him at his legal trial.

Bhutto kept the key defense portfolio for herself. Lt. Gen. Naseerullah Khan Babar, appointed a special assistant to Bhutto with Cabinet rank, was expected to become her chief defense adviser.


Babar was formerly a senior military official and later governor of North-West Frontier Province during Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's six years at the head of the government.

Benazir Bhutto's national security adviser is Iqbal Akhun, who was Pakistan's ambassador to the United Nations during the 1970s.

Aitzaz Aitzaz, 43, an attorney elected to the National Assembly for the first time in the Nov. 16 elections, received both the justice and interior portfolios.

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