Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan reshuffles Cabinet on court's directive

PTI
Islamabad, Pakistan Published: Dec 11, 2020, 08:31 PM(IST)

Pakistan to announce its first-ever National security policy today Photograph:( Reuters )

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This is the fourth Cabinet shakeup since Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) came to power in 2018

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday reshuffled his Cabinet, days after a top court barred un-elected advisers and special assistants from heading the Cabinet committees.

This is the fourth Cabinet shakeup since Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) came to power in 2018. The reshuffle followed the December 7 verdict of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) barring un-elected advisers and special assistants from heading Cabinet committees.

The court ruled that special assistants and advisers to the prime minister were not members of the Cabinet and therefore, cannot be part of Cabinet proceedings.

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On Friday, Khan elevated Sheikh Rashid Ahmed as interior minister and appointed Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh as finance minister.

=State-run Radio Pakistan reported that Ahmed was already a part of the Cabinet working as minister for railways, while Hafeez Sheikh was serving as advisor on finance and revenue.

Hafeez Sheikh is not an elected member and he could not lead several committees. He was appointed as minister under Article 91 (9) of the Constitution and can serve as a minister for six months. He must be elected as a member of the National Assembly or Senate to continue after that.
Brigadier (Retd) Ijaz Ahmad Shah who was serving the interior minister was appointed as minister for narcotics control, while Azam Khan Swati was appointed as minister for railways.

It is believed that Hafeez Sheikh would be made a senator in March when the election for the upper house is scheduled to be held.
The most notable elevation in the new Cabinet is that of Ahmed, who despite failing to improve the functioning of the railways, was given the charge of the interior ministry, a key portfolio.

The IHC judgment noted that Article 93 of the Constitution allows the prime minister to appoint up to five advisors and conferring of a federal minister status on an advisor is "only for the purpose of perks and privileges" and "does not make the advisor a federal minister as such".

The court had subsequently set aside the notification of the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation, headed by Hafeez. The move was seen as a major blow to government's privatisation efforts that were being spearheaded by un-elected members of the federal Cabinet, the Dawn newspaper reported.

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