Wrong-sizing: Federal cabinet swells with addition of 11 members

Published: April 14, 2012

Five federal ministers, six state ministers take oath at 17th reshuffle of Federal Cabinet. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Last year, the size of the federal cabinet had been slashed dramatically on two counts: One, unavoidable austerity measures and two, the devolution of ministries under the 18th Amendment. However, it was short-lived.

The size of the federal cabinet swelled once again on Friday, with the induction of 11 ministers – taking the total size from 38 to 49, in addition to the presence of four advisers and five special assistants.

Barring one Fata member, the new ministers that took oath on Friday belong to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). The move came amidst reports of bickering among coalition partners, none of whom seem satisfied with their share in the cabinet.

Interestingly, many of the added ministers were those dropped from the cabinet a year ago in the name of rightsizing.

Five senior members of the PPP – Raja Pervez Ashraf, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Nazar Muhammad Gondal, Rana Farooq Saeed and Farzana Raja took oath as federal ministers. Tasneem Qureshi, who had earlier served as minister of state for interior, and Malik Ammad Khan, a former minister of state for foreign affairs, Samsam Bukhari a former minister of state for information and three others, MNA Raheela Baloch, Senator Abbas Afridi and MNA Malik Azmat, took oath as ministers of state.

The notification of the new additional portfolios has not been issued yet, but is expected soon.

Ashraf, whose name figured in the list of those the Supreme Court has asked to be placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) in relation to the Rental Power Projects case, is expected to get a lucrative ministry. On the other hand, Kaira is expected to once again get the portfolio of minister for information and broadcasting, a ministry he had held before it was assigned to the incumbent, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan. Maula Bux Chandio whose portfolio of federal minister for law and justice was given to former Senate chairman Farooq H Naek is likely to be retained as minister for parliamentary affairs.

One source claimed that there was some friction inside the party when Imtiaz Safdar Warraich, president of PPP’s Punjab chapter, refused to take oath as he had conveyed his displeasure over being named as a state minister.

Size does matter

Before Friday’s inductions, the federal cabinet had 30 federal and eight state ministers belonging to the PPP and its coalition partners – the PML-Q, ANP, MQM and Fata independents.

With the new inductions, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani will now have 35 federal ministers, 14 ministers of state (effectively junior ministers), four advisers and five special assistants. In addition to the ministers, state ministers, advisers and assistants, there are also parliamentary secretaries – 31 in number. A parliamentary secretary’s job is basically to assist or represent ministers in the house in their absence.

Under 18th Amendment, the size of federal cabinet cannot exceed 11 per cent of the total strength of 448-member Parliament, which would translate roughly into 50 members.

Back in 2011, when Prime Minister Gilani announced the dissolution of his cabinet, the aim was to refurbish the government’s image by moving in accordance with the provisions of a landmark constitutional reforms package, the 18th Amendment, and also to adopt the austerity measures by resizing the federal cabinet.

The ruling PPP was facing pressure from the main opposition, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and donors agencies such as the International Monetary Fund to reduce the size of the federal cabinet and to make significant cuts in government spending.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 14th, 2012.

Reader Comments (7)

  • Jawad Jutt
    Apr 14, 2012 - 6:03AM

    I will not blame PPP but all parties in coalition I blame ANP, MQM, PMLQ and Fata members who got ministries while in Public they call for austerity while in government they do it otherwise. When this hypocrisy will end actually.
    I also appreciate the efforts of PMLN which object to this decision and infact they are a weak opposition and all they can do is to object and that is the role of opposition that they full filled. But let us see what Imran Khan have to say As only Nawaz Bashing is a favourite past time of Imran and i am quite sure that Imran will blame this expansion of Cabinet entirely on Nawaz Sharif and tommorow will give a statement that it is because of PMLN it did happened. I can see a more weaker opposition in future with coming of PTI in Upper Punjab when Imran will bicker with PMLN and again PPP with its coalition will emerge as winners in next elections.

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  • kala_bacha
    Apr 14, 2012 - 7:58AM

    The people like Raja Pervez Ashraf whose name in criminal case of corruptions – BB rightly said “democracy is the best revenge” – PPP Khaphe!

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  • Sahibzada Shabir
    Apr 14, 2012 - 8:49AM

    Shame

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  • Muqarrib
    Apr 14, 2012 - 10:35AM

    The present government is by far the most corrupt and inept in the history of Pakistan. Pakistan’s legal, political, judicial, moral and culture systems are all adversely affected with the unchecked corruption.in the high echelon of the government. When one of them or their children get caught with their hand in the cooking jar and if charges are brought against them, they start wailing, “it’s politically motivated … this is a media trial …” And then they take the first flight available out of the country and go on honeymoon.

    Today, under the present government, Pakistan is completely drowned in decadence and malfeasance

    The sad thing is that the same people will manage to be re-elected and the looting of national treasure will begin anew.

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  • Pakistani
    Apr 14, 2012 - 12:30PM

    Loot and steal as much as you can, to your heart’s content. With so much manna dropping from the sky, why not help yourself to it?

    An army of parasitic federal, state ministers and advisers whose perks, privileges, salaries, staff, air conditioned cars, air conditioned bangalows with no loadshedding ever, police mobile escorts, cars for wives’ shopping, foreign picnics, and so much more … all a burden on the worthless awam.

    Just sign some useless loan agreement from World Bank, IMF, USAID, to pay for your privileges. Our children and their children will pay the interest on the loans.Recommend

  • sunder khan
    Apr 14, 2012 - 11:12PM

    Promotion of culture of corruption is the main achievement of the PPP Government. Criminals like Raja Pervez Ashraf will thrive as long as this corrupt Govt. stays in power.

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  • shar uk
    Apr 15, 2012 - 9:08PM

    @Jawad it is the fault of pmnl they have helped prop this disaster that has befallen pak pmnl is a joke nobody takes them serious zardari has got sharif brothers in is back pocket whe he says jump they say how high master tell me its not true!

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