The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led federal government on Monday removed Hafeez Shaikh as finance minister.
Sources privy to this development say Prime Minister Imran Khan will also reshuffle the portfolios of several other federal ministers in the coming days.
Hammad Azhar, who is currently serving as Federal Minister for Industries and Production, has been given an additional portfolio of finance.
Former information minister Shibli Faraz is likely to be given the portfolio of the petroleum ministry, while the information ministry will be separated into two divisions, according to sources.
The government has also decided to appoint two state ministers for the information ministry.
Adviser on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh was made the finance minister back in December 2020.
He was sworn in as the federal minister in the wake of the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) December 7 ruling that held that unelected advisers and special assistants could not head government’s committees. The court had set aside a notification regarding the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCoP) headed by Dr Shaikh.
Though mostly elected representatives i.e. members of the National Assembly or Senate can be appointed as federal ministers, a clause in the Constitution provides for a short-term appointment of non-elected ministers.
“A Minister who for any period of six consecutive months is not a member of the National Assembly shall, at the expiration of that period, 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,” reads the clause nine of Article 91 of the Constitution.
The ruling party fielded Hafeez Shaikh from Islamabad for Senate seat but had suffered a setback when Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh lost a seat to a joint candidate of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), former premier Yousuf Raza Gilani.
It is pertinent to mention here that the federal cabinet is expected to undergo a reshuffle in the ongoing week. According to sources, the premier after recovering from COVID-19 will reshuffle the cabinet on the basis of performance.
In December 2020, during the last reshuffle, PM Imran Khan changed the portfolios of cabinet members and appointed Sheikh Rasheed as the interior minister.