Fawad Chaudhry, Shibli Faraz likely to get additional portfolios

07:38 PM | 29 Mar, 2021
Fawad Chaudhry, Shibli Faraz likely to get additional portfolios

ISLAMABAD – Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry and Information Minister Shibli Faraz are likely to get new assignments as Prime Minister Imran Khan has decided to reshuffle his cabinet.

Reports said that Senator Faraz could get the portfolio of petroleum ministry.

The government has also decided to bifurcate the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting into two departments in order to streamline their affairs. After bifurcation, each department will have its state minister.

Fawad Chaudhary will continue to retain the S&T but he would also be given new portfolio.

The premier has also decided to remove Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in a major reshuffle in his cabinet. 

Reports said that Federal Minister of Industries and Production Hammad Azhar will be assigned the portfolio while no reasons have been explained in this regard by the government so far. 

The development comes days after the premier removed special assistant on petroleum Nadeem Babar over fuel crisis that hit the country in June last year. 

Shaikh was made finance minister in Dec 2020 by the premier after the Islamabad High Court ruled that unelected aides could not head government committees.

However, the senior economist could retain the post for six months only since he was an unelected individual to head the ministry. As per rules, he had to be replaced in June 2021. 

In an attempt to cement his position, the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) picked him as its candidate for Senate seat from Islamabad but he lost it to PDM-backed Yousaf Raza Gillani. 

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The prime minister is empowered to appoint an unelected individual as a minister for six months under Article 91(9) of the Constitution.

However, the Constitution states that at the end of six months, that individual will "cease to be a minister and shall not before the dissolution of that Assembly be again appointed a minister; unless he is elected as a member of that Assembly."

In light of the Constitution, the government gave a Senate ticket to Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in order to get him elected.

Earlier, the IHC judgment noted that Article 93 of the Constitution allows the prime minister to appoint up to five advisors, and conferring of a federal minister status on an advisor is "only for the purpose of perks and privileges, and does not make the advisor a federal minister as such."

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