Imran Khan speaks during a budget session in the National Assembly. File
Tariq Butt, Correspondent
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has reshuffled its cabinet with a newly assigned role to Sheikh Rashid Ahmed as interior minister.
According to Prime Minister Office, the portfolio of finance minister has been given to Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh while Azam Khan Sawati appointed as railways minister and Brigadier (read) Ijaz Ahmad Shah as minister for narcotics control
Sheikh Rashid, who was serving as the minister for railways, has been made minister for interior. Brig (retd) Ijaz Shah, who was working as the interior minister, has been shifted to the anti-narcotics ministry. Similarly, Azam Swati, who was serving as the anti-narcotics minister, has been shifted to the railways ministry.
Dr Shaikh’s induction as minister comes in the wake of an Islamabad High Court (IHC) ruling that said that the unelected persons could not head cabinet committees. An unelected person inducted in the federal cabinet can remain minister for six months under the Constitution.
President Dr Arif Alvi administered the oath to Dr Shaikh at the presidency at a ceremony, which was attended by federal ministers and bureaucrats.
Before that, Prime Minister Imran Khan consulted with his legal team to discuss options to deal with the complications arising out of the IHC verdict as four committees of the federal cabinet were being headed by Shaikh.
Razzak Dawood and Dr Faisal Sultan, who are serving as the advisers to the premier, may also be appointed as federal ministers until the Senate elections next year. They are likely to be given Senate tickets by the ruling party so that they could continue holding these positions after becoming members of the upper house of parliament.
The IHC in its judgment had set aside a notification through which the premier had reconstituted the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCoP) headed by Dr Shaikh.
The other committees headed by the finance adviser included the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet, Cabinet Committee on State-owned Enterprises (CCSOEs) and the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC).
Imran said the opposition parties have been blackmailing the government since day one to grant them amnesty. He said that the NRO given to the opposition by Pervez Musharraf had had disastrous effects on Pakistan, leading to an increase in debt liabilities.
"I am announcing our 'real" freedom movement from Mianwali today... I am preparing my nation... when I will give you a call to come to Islamabad will you come," he asked the charged crowd.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has said loans worth Rs1,000 billion will be provided to 4.5 million deserving households under Kamyab Pakistan Programme by next year to lift them out of poverty and enable them earn their livelihoods.
"It is very difficult for the salaried class, workers and labourers to construct or purchase a house in the cities due to soaring prices of land,” the prime minister told the ceremony in Islamabad on Thursday.
The Centre also confirmed that it is following the situation around the clock and would continue brief the public on the latest developments, calling on the public, road users and motorists to exercise precautions when driving during rain, and to avoid nearing surface runoffs and pools of rainwater. It also appealed to members of the society to follow the bulletins and reports issued by the NCM and not to circulate rumors.
The multi-millionaire ex-Chancellor and his wife Akshata Murty were last year granted planning permission to build a swimming pool, gym and an adjoining tennis court on farmland at the manor house.
Asad Kaleem, an executive producer at ARY, said that the action means that 4,000 employees at the TV are now without work. He pleaded with the government to reverse its decision and bring the hugely popular ARY back on air.