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PM Office declares major reshuffle in the federal cabinet

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PM Office declares major reshuffle in the federal cabinet

ISLAMABAD: The Prime Minister’s Office announced a major reshuffle of the federal cabinet today, with key portfolios of the finance, interior and information ministries seeing new faces.
This development comes only hours after Asad Umar stepped down as the finance minister.
The portfolio of information minister has been taken away from Fawad Chaudhry, who has been named as the federal minister for science and technology.
Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh has been named the advisor on finance.
Minister of state for interior Shehryar Afridi has now been named the Minister for States and Frontier Regions (Safron).
The PTI government has also announced a federal interior minister for the first time, with the portfolio – earlier held by the PM himself – going to Ijaz Ahmed Shah.
Ghulam Sarwar Khan, who previously was the petroleum minister, has now been named the federal minister for aviation. With this, Federal Minister for Privatisation Mohammad Mian Soomro will cease to hold the additional portfolio of Aviation Division.
Azam Swati, who resigned as the federal minister for science and technology last year, has been appointed as the Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs.
The prime minister, according to a notification issued by the Cabinet Division, has also appointed a trio of Special Assistants to the Prime Minister (SAPM).
The notification states that Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan has been made the SAPM on Information and Broadcasting Division, while Dr Zafarullah Mirza has been assigned the portfolio of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination.
Meanwhile, Nadeem Babar will serve as the SAPM on Petroleum Division.
The reshuffle comes as criticism mounts against the PTI government over its economic policies as well as in the aftermath of major terrorist attacks in Balochistan.
Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh is an internationally renowned economist with more than 30 years of experience in economic policymaking, management and implementation.
Dr Shaikh has undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in economics from Boston University. He had worked at Harvard University and World Bank, where he was country head for Saudi Arabia and as a Senior Official advised 21 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America.
He served as the finance minister from 2010 to 2013 during the PPP government’s rule.
During his tenure as federal minister, Dr Shaikh completed 34 sale transactions worth Rs300 billion in banking, telecom, electricity and manufacturing.
In 2000-2002, he was minister of finance, planning and development of Sindh.
He was then appointed as the minister for privatisation and investment in the Pervez Musharraf administration.
Firdous Ashiq Awan was a PPP stalwart before she joined the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) in May 2017.
Awan, along with her husband, was a staunch supporter of the PPP until party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari consolidated his control over the party.
She began her political career in 1990 with a focus on improving the healthcare system, and founded the Society for Health and Development and Exchange.
In 2002, she was elected to NA-286 on a reserved seat for women. In 2008, she successfully contested the NA-111 poll and was appointed the federal minister for population welfare. She later served as the information minister in the PPP government.
In 2013, she again contested the NA-111 poll but this time was unsuccessful. In 2015, she resigned as the PPP Punjab vice president before joining the PTI two years later.
Babar, a former chief executive of Orient Power and Saba Power Company, had been operating in the power sector since the induction of private power producers under the 1994 power policy.
In September 2018, upon the prime minister’s desire, he was appointed the head of an eight-member task force on energy sector reforms.
Agencies add: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) prominent leader, Asad Umar, who has stepped down as finance minister on Thursday, said that the next person in line for the position will have to take difficult decisions.
Earlier, the PTI MNA Asad Umar has decided to quit as the finance minister of Pakistan.
The PTI leader held a press conference in Islamabad and told that he conducted a detailed meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan after his proposal of reshuffling of the cabinet.
“I convinced the premier to allow me to step down from the cabinet,” he said. “I thank Imran Khan for inviting me to join PTI and to put his trust in me. My support will always be PTI which will make naya (new) Pakistan.
“I have had an amazing journey in Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf since April 18, 2012 – the day I joined the party. “I enjoyed a lot of success and faced difficult times as well. I specially thank PTI supporters and social media volunteers for their tremendous support.
“Special gratitude goes to the people of NA-48 and NA-54 for electing me. “The economy of Pakistan – when I took charge – was in the most dangerous condition and we could have fallen into a pitfall if correct and bold decisions had not been made.
“The economic condition improved during my tenure and the figures verify the claim. “Although the new finance minister will assume the office in a relatively better position, still difficult decisions will have to be made. “The economy is going towards betterment but finance ministry is still the second most difficult job in Pakistan after the premiership.
“The people should show patience and support tough decisions. Choices made in haste may drop the economy back into the pitfall.”
The former finance minister said that he has been apprised regarding a reshuffle in cabinet yesterday. He announced that the latest reshuffle in the federal cabinet would be taken into effect on Thursday or Friday in light of the decisions taken by the premier.
Earlier, the PTI leader took to Twitter and informed that Prime Minister Imran Khan asked him to take the energy minister portfolio instead of finance.
Asad Umar continued that he has decided not to take any cabinet position after the premier’s consent. He said he strongly believes Imran Khan is the best hope for Pakistan. Meanwhile, it has been learnt that the names of Shaukat Tareen, Hafeez Pasha, Dr Ishrat Hussain and Salman Shah are under consideration for finance advisor.
Imran Khan has also summoned Federal Minister for Power Umar Ayub Khan to the Prime Minister House.
The development has occurred amidst an economic crisis. Imran Khan had expressed dissatisfaction over Asad Umar’s performance earlier as well.
Asad Umar was sworn in as the Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, and Economic Affairs in the federal cabinet of Prime Minister Imran Khan on August 20, 2018. Meanwhile, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari – following an abrupt announcement by former finance minister Asad Umar on Thursday to not take any cabinet position – asserted that removal of Umar as a finance minister would yield better results.
“We [PPP] hope that other minister those have affiliations with banned outfits would also be removed,” he said. “The government has come to realize after eight months that their economic policies were faulted,” he added, while claiming that economy of the state would improve after such a decision.
Former Sindh Governor Mohammad Zubair Umar strongly criticised over what he termed as “ineffective policies” of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in [resolving core issues of the general public and economy in particular].
He called it “a failure of the government” and claimed that Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan has lied to the public. He further claimed that PM Khan had tried a lot to put the blame of [failed economy] on previous governments. “However, today things are clear following the resignation of biggest champion of Imran Khan,” he went on to say.
Reports are being speculated on the media that in the next few days more reshuffling is possible in the federal cabinet, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial cabinets.
Dr Salman Shah, a Lahore-based Economist and former caretaker Finance Minister of Pakistan, told the media that the dismissal of Asad Umar as a finance minister would not affect Pakistan’s bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is likely to happen in the end of April.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb also reacted on the development by stating that if the government’s policies were all good, then what has happened.
She took to Twitter, and stated why Asad Umar was asked to leave the position of finance ministry. “His removal as a finance minister is evidence that Imran Khan’s economic policies have failed [to deliver],” she said. “The real problem lies with Imran Khan himself, and not Asad Umar,” she concluded.
Umar recently led a delegation to Washington DC to hold talks with International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB). The finance ministry had sought formal meetings with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde on the sidelines of the IMF-WB spring meetings.