Following a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan, the government returned the revenue ministry to Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh days after it had allocated only the portfolio of finance to him in a cabinet reshuffle.
This change of heart was because Shaikh met PM Imran and requested he [Shaikh] retain the revenue slot with finance, top official sources were quoted as saying in a The News report published Tuesday.
The publication reported the sources as saying that the premier had assured Shaikh that he would get the revenue ministry back within the next couple of days.
There was, however, no mistake in drafting the first notification, official sources from the PM Secretariat confirmed.
On Monday, the Cabinet Division issued a new notification which returned the revenue portfolio back to Dr Shaikh.
Initially, PTI had selected Hammad Azhar to be the Minister of State for Revenues, but it was taken back immediately. The government had also placed the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, earlier with Dr Shaikh, under the jurisdiction of Ministry of Planning, besides appointing a separate federal minister for the Economic Affairs Division.
The report stated that Dr Shaikh had resisted the appointment of Special Assistant to PM on Revenues when Haroon Akhtar Khan was considered for this slot and the government dropped his name. Now the PM Imran Khan appointed Dr Waqar Masood as SAPM.
“When the slot of revenues was withdrawn, this time again, Dr Shaikh took it as big blow to his powers. He approached the premier and got the revenue slot restored,” The News said.
President Dr Arif Alvi administered the oath of a federal minister to Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in a ceremony at the President House on Friday.
Shaikh previously held the post of an advisor to the prime minister on finance. The move came in light of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) decision on inclusion of advisers and special assistants in cabinet committees.
Constitution allows unelected members to be appointed ministersThe prime minister is empowered to appoint an unelected individual as a minister for six months under Article 91(9) of the Constitution.
However, the Constitution states that at the end of six months, that individual will “cease to be a minister and shall not before the dissolution of that Assembly be again appointed a minister unless he is elected a member of that Assembly”.
Now it seems Shaikh may be given a ticket of the Upper House to elect him as a senator in the upcoming March 2021 elections, the source said.
A recap of the IHC decisionA division bench comprising Justice Aamir Farooq and Justice Ghulam Azam Qambrani has ruled that the prime minister’s advisors and special assistants have no executive authority vested in them to chair or become members of cabinet committees.
The 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”.