Soon after Finance Minister Asad Umar “resigned” from Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet, the premier on Thursday fired several ministers for showing unsatisfactory performance in their respective domains.
Among the victims of Thursday’s bloodbath were Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Interior Minister Shehryar Afridi, Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan and Health Minister Amir Mehmood Kiyani.
While the sacked cabinet members were handed new ministries in what is being termed as a major reshuffle, here is what you need to know about the new portfolios of the same old ministers.
Fawad Chaudhry’s Science and Technology Ministry
As the name suggests, the ministry is concerned with science and technology. It is responsible for the country’s science policy, planning, coordination and efforts to initiate technological programmes that can also be aimed at economic development.
Shehryar Afridi’s States and Frontier Regions Ministry
The main responsibility of the ministry is to deal with the issues of tribal areas of Pakistan, the frontier regions and previously Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) that is now a part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
Ghulam Sarwar Khan’s Aviation Ministry
Concerned with matters of aviation, the ministry works in coordination with different organisations, including the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Airport Security Force (ASF), Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and even Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD).
New Interior Minister:
The government has also announced a federal interior minister for the first time, with the portfolio — earlier held by the PM himself — going to Brig (r) Ijaz Ahmed Shah, who was appointed the federal minister for parliamentary affairs just last month.
Yes, a PM can keep ministries to himself. An example is former premier Nawaz Sharif, who kept with him the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
While Shah is known to have experience of tackling threats posed by militant organisations, his appointment has stirred a political controversy as he remained a trusted aide of former military ruler Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf.
Raining Special Assistants:
Meanwhile, a trio of Special Assistants to the Prime Minister (SAPM) has also been appointed in an apparent attempt to bridge the gap that has surfaced after sacking of federal ministers.
Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan has been made the SAPM on Information and Broadcasting Division, Dr Zafarullah Mirza has been assigned the portfolio of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, while Nadeem Babar will serve as the SAPM on Petroleum Division.
The special assistants won’t officially be ministers, but being the most superior in their respective domains, they will be entitled to a minister’s power.