The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has had another cabinet reshuffle this past week. The news of another reshuffle was doing the rounds for some weeks and finally it was announced on Friday, April 16. Except for one new but expected addition, all other portfolios have been given to already serving cabinet ministers. Only their portfolios have been changed.
Hammad Azhar, who had just been appointed the finance minister less than three weeks ago after the ouster of Hafeez Shaikh, has now been removed and given the portfolio of energy. Shaukat Tarin, who served as the finance minister in the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) regime, has been appointed as minister for finance. He has been given the additional charge of revenue as well. Tarin is the fourth finance minister under the current regime and the second ex-PPP finance minister after Shaikh. Asad Umar was originally appointed the finance minister by PTI before being removed unceremoniously after a few months into his tenure whereas Hammad Azhar’s stint as finance minister was the shortest of all in this government. Tarin will be finance minister for at least six months and then the government will have to get him elected for him to remain in the ministerial position. Tarin has been extremely critical of PTI’s economic management. We will have to wait and see how he turns around the economy.
Omar Ayub has been made the minister for economic affairs; he was previously energy minister. Khusro Bakhtiar, who held Ayub’s portfolio has now been given the portfolio of industries and production – a portfolio held earlier by Hammad Azhar, who now has Ayub’s portfolio. If this does not make your head hurt, do not fret for we now have Fawad Chaudhry back as the Information Minister while his ministry – Science & Technology – has been given to former information minister Shibli Faraz. Musical chairs, much?
Fawad Chaudhry was an asset as the information minister when the PTI government came to power but he was replaced by Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan. Shibli Faraz later replaced Firdous. Chaudhry is the fourth – yet the original – information minister. When Chaudhry took on the science ministry, he brought his ministry to the limelight by starting many new projects. One of Chaudhry’s feats was his tussle on moonsighting for Ramzan and Eid with Mufti Muneeb. Chaudhry won in the end through his use of technology. Unfortunately, the new science minister Shibli Faraz thinks that moonsighting and the use of technology for this should not be the science ministry’s concern. We hope that Faraz will not rollback all the good work done by Chaudhry.
We also hope that we will not need a new finance minister or a new information minister anytime soon.