Islamabad, 18 April 2019 (Daily Dawn)
The Prime Minister’s Office announced a major reshuffle of the federal cabinet on Thursday, with key portfolios of the finance, interior and information ministries seeing new faces.
This development came 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 adviser 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 retired Brig Ijaz Ahmed Shah, who was appointed the federal minister for parliamentary affairs just last month.
Ghulam Sarwar Khan, who previously was the petroleum minister, has now been named the federal minister for aviation. Sarwar, according to informed sources, had threatened to quit the party if removed from the cabinet. He was, therefore, given the Aviation Division portfolio which was until then held by Federal Minister for Privatisation Muhammad Mian Soomro.
Azam Swati, who had resigned as the federal minister for science and technology last year, has been appointed as the federal minister for parliamentary affairs.
His resignation had come after he was accused of using his influence in the transfer of a former capital police chief in the wake of his family’s altercation with a family of slum dwellers.
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.