ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan will make “significant” changes to the federal cabinet within two weeks, information minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain has said, in what is being seen as an effort to keep the ruling coalition intact after the opposition’s announcement it would file a no confidence motion in parliament against the premier.
The chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, has announced his party will launch an anti-government march to the capital from February 27, while an alliance of opposition parties, the Pakistan Democratic Movement, says it will file a no-trust motion in parliament.
The announcements have come as Khan’s government grapples with a chronic economic crisis and rising inflation as well as amid reports of strained ties with the all-powerful military.
“The prime minister will make significant changes in the federal cabinet within two weeks,” Chaudhry told Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper.
A source close to the prime minister told Dawn Khan would appoint five ministers of state in the ministries of defense, planning, education, energy and overseas Pakistanis. The PM has reportedly also instructed Defense Minister Pervez Khattak, Planning Minister Asad Umar, Energy Minister Hammad Azhar and Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood to handle party affairs and take steps to strengthen the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) ruling party.
“It has also been learnt that the PTI will induct leaders from its two major coalition partners — the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) — who are likely to get one ministry each,” Dawn reported. “Both the parties have been requesting Mr.Khan to give them at least one more federal ministry.”
Meanwhile. According to information received by Dawn, in an effort to keep the ruling coalition intact amid the opposition’s plans to overthrow the government, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has decided to make changes in the federal and Punjab cabinets by inducting leaders from allied parties.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has also asked some frontline PTI leaders to concentrate on restructuring and strengthening the party in order to better tackle the threat from opposition parties.
Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Affairs Shehbaz Gill revealed on Wednesday that Prime Minister Khan would soon make changes in the federal and Punjab cabinets.
“The prime minister will make significant changes in the federal cabinet within two weeks,” Mr Chaudhry told Dawn.
Five ministers of state likely to be appointed; senior ministers told to focus on party matters
A source close to the prime minister said Mr Khan would appoint five ministers of state in the ministries of defence, planning, education, energy and overseas Pakistanis.
The source said the prime minister had asked Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Planning Minister Asad Umar, Energy Minister Hammad Azhar and Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood to handle party affairs and take steps to strengthen the party.
The government recently conducted an audit after which it issued a list of ten ministries that performed better than others. The ministers whose ministries were not included in the list are reportedly unhappy as they thought they were left out “despite showing outstanding performance”.
The source said the prime minister was of the view that the new state ministers would help improve the performance of these five ministries. It has also been learnt that the PTI will induct leaders from its two major coalition partners — the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) — who are likely to get one ministry each.
Both the parties have been requesting Mr Khan to give them at least one more federal ministry. Presently, the MQM has two members in the federal cabinet — Information Technology Minister Syed Amin-ul-Haq and Law Minister Farogh Naseem. However, MQM has been saying that the law ministry has not been given to it.
According to observers, senators of the BAP have been making considerable difference in matters involving crucial legislative business. Talking to Dawn, BAP’s Senator Kauda Babar said his party had demanded that at least four federal cabinet members should be from Balochistan. “Presently Zobaida Jalal of BAP is the only federal minister hailing from the province,” he said. He said BAP has been asking the prime minister to give it a seat in the federal cabinet.
The senator said that Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo had recently talked to Mr Khan and during the meeting the CM was assured that BAP would get at least one ministry at the centre.
The opposition leaders are planning to bring a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Khan and recently they approached the MQM as well as the Pakistan Muslim League-Q to seek their support.