ISLAMABAD: In essence, it was more of a reversion as opposed to a reshuffle.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani allotted new portfolios on Wednesday to five federal ministers and ten state ministers added to his Cabinet a few days ago.
The most prominent change was of Qamar Zaman Kaira being made the Minister for Information in place of Firdous Ashiq Awan. Interestingly, Kaira, Awan’s successor, is also her predecessor – removed when the Cabinet was cut down early last year.
The downsizing was short-lived, given that the size of the cabinet is burgeoned once again to 53 federal and state ministers, in addition to four advisers and five special assistants.
There were other returnees, too. Of the newly-assigned state ministers, Sumsam Bukhari and Malik Ammad Khan were given their old jobs back. Bukhari was state minister for information and broadcasting and Malik Ammad state minister for foreign affairs.
Others who made a comeback did not manage to get back their old portfolios – at least for now.
Raja Pervez Ashraf, the controversial former minister for water and power, was allotted the Ministry of Information Technology, and Nazar Mohammad Gondal will take charge of the Ministry of Capital Administration and Development.
Rana Mohammad Farooq Saeed Khan meanwhile has been given the Ministry of Environmental Change. The only new minister yet to be allotted a portfolio ministry is Farzana Raja, who is already the chairperson of the government’s flagship Benazir Income Support Programme.
Firdous Ashiq Awan, the outgoing information minister, meanwhile, has been moved to the Ministry of National Regulation & Services.
Ministers of state
Aside from Sumsam Bukhari and Malik Amad, other junior ministers were also given portfolios.
Imtiaz Safdar Warraich was made Minister of State for Interior; Tasneem Qureshi, Minister of State for Water and Power; Raheela Baloch, Minister of State for Science & Technology; Malik Azmat Khan, Minister of State for Inter-Provincial Coordination; Moazzam Ali Jatoi, Minister of State for Food Security & Research; Dost Muhammad Mazari, Minister of State for Communications; Sardar Saleem Haider, Minister of State for Defence; and Abbas Khan Afridi, Minister of State for Commerce.
The government had inducted 11 new ministers into the federal Cabinet on Friday April 13, taking the total size from 38 to 49, in addition to the presence of four advisers and five special assistants to the prime minister. On April 16, four more ministers of state were added.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2012.