Who is going to be Pakistan’s next health minister?

As the PML-N coalition partners 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 request one of their MNAs or senators who head the federal Ministry of Health, PML-N officials said News on Friday.

“The Federal Ministry for National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination (NHS, R&C) is not a very attractive ministry after devolution and during the previous term, it was run by two unelected technocrats, initially by Dr Zafar Mirza and then by Dr Faisal Sultan as Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health,” said a senior political figure in the newly formed governing coalition.

The senior politician told the publication that since the PPP and any other coalition partners were not interested in heading the Ministry of Health, the PML-N leadership can ask any of its MNAs or senators to head the Ministry of National Health.

The political leader said that the PML-N had in its ranks people like Senator Dr Musadik Malik, who has a doctorate in Health Policy, Economics and Medical Decision Making and maybe a good fit for the position. “The PML-N senator has also headed the Ministry of Water and Energy in the past.”

speaking to NewsDr. Malik called his appointment as federal minister of health “rumours”, saying that the government led by Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif was a coalition government and that the PML-N alone could not make unilateral decisions in any ministry from the centre.

“I am not aware of who would be heading the Ministry of Health in the Center in this collation government, but I would know about the federal ministers within the next 24 to 48 hours,” he added.

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

The politician added that Dr Cheema has vast experience in treating health problems and has very good relations with international health agencies, including WHO, UNICEF and donor agencies.

He maintained that Dr Cheema is the brother of former Police Inspector General Zulfiqar Cheema, while also having strong connections in the judiciary and military.

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

Wife of the late PML-N MNA Pervaiz Malik, Shaista Pervaiz Malik, who was recently elected as an 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 health minister, the official said.