Government announces new portfolios for several cabinet members, adds new advisers
The Government of Pakistan on Thursday announced a significant reshuffling of the federal cabinet a few hours after the finance minister had announced his resignation.
According to a notification issued by the Cabinet Secretariat:
- Fawad Ahmed Chaudhry, formerly the information minister, would now assume the charge of Science and Technology Minister;
- Ghulam Sarwar Khan, formerly the petroleum minister, is now the Aviation minister—Muhammadmian Soomro had previously overseen the Aviation Division in addition to his Privatization ministry;
- Ijaz Ahmed Shah, appointed the federal minister for Parliamentary Affairs just last month, would now assume the charge of Interior Minister—a portfolio that Prime Minister Imran Khan had personally held prior to this. Azam Swati will assume the Parliamentary Affairs portfolio;
- Shehryar Afridi, the minister of state for interior, has now been named the States and Frontier Regions minister.
In addition to the reshuffled portfolios, the Cabinet Secretariat has also announced three new special assistants to the prime minister:
- Zafar Ullah Mirza will serve on the National Health Service, Regulations and Coordination portfolio;
- Firdous Ashiq Awan will serve on the Information and Broadcasting Division portfolio—she had previously served as information minister from February 2011-April 2012;
- Nadeem Babar will serve on the Petroleum Division.
The Government has also named Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh as an adviser on finance following Asad Umar’s resignation as minister of finance.
The cabinet reshuffle comes as the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government faces great criticism over a struggling economy and sharp inflation, with the rupee having lost 30 percent of its value since the start of 2018.
Umar was negotiating a bailout package with the International Monetary Fund when he stepped down, with state minister for revenue Hammad Azhar claiming an agreement “in principle” had been reached during a trip to Washington, D.C.